The best time to ask for a raise may not be at your annual review!
Do you find yourself taking on a heavy workload, and then waiting till the end of the year to ask your manager to compensate you for it? Maybe it’s time to approach things differently.
Experts believe that waiting for the annual performance review to wangle a salary hike should be the last resort for employees today. That’s because salary budgets are usually set much before the yearly review meetings. Chances are, if you waited till the last moment to ask, you’ll have missed your window.
Under most circumstances, asking for a raise can be awkward. But if your timing – and approach -- is right, you may increase your chances of success.
Here are the five best times to ask for – and get – that hike you want.
#1 When your job description changes
If your daily duties have changed significantly since the time of your last hike and you find yourself with a heavier workload, it’s a good time to ask for a raise. Why shouldn’t you wait till after the projects in hand are completed? Because the boss may move on to the next project by then and forget your contributions to the last few successfully completed ones.
Tip: Schedule a one-on-one meeting with the boss, where you bring up your earlier responsibilities and KRAs and compare them to what you’re doing now.
#2 When you take up a tough assignment
Liz Ryan, founder and CEO of Human Workplace, believes that a new role with new responsibilities is the perfect time to seek a raise. “You can pitch your boss on a salary increase if you've taken on a big new responsibility that makes the organization money or saves money for them. If somebody quit or got laid off and you took over their duties, you've got a case to make, also,” she advises.
Tip: Take tangible information to your boss so that they can make your case to their seniors and budget accordingly for essential pay hikes.
#3 When you consistently over-perform
If you have been excelling in your role for a while now, there’s no need to wait till the review rolls around. Demonstrate how you’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty to add value to your team and company. Give examples of projects you have completed, teams you’ve led and how they’ve positively affected the business. Did they lead to an increase in revenue? Did they translate into happy customers?
Tip: Numbers are always very convincing, so include measurable data. Showcase ways you’ve earned money for the firm, be it through sales or creating efficiencies.
#4 Four months before your annual performance review
Not every company believes only in annual appraisals. If the company has had a good half-year or your manager can recommend a raise, it’s best that you begin the conversation four months before review time. If you bring facts, figures and values, you may win yourself an off-cycle raise or ensure that your manager knows enough about your performance to ensure you score a raise at review time.
Tip: Step up and ask, because if you don't ask, you will never get. Setting the ball rolling ahead of time gives you a better chance.
#5 When you realize that you’re actually underpaid
Tap that sinking feeling you get when you realize that you’re doing the work of two people and being paid lesser than what one would be paid. Instead of stressing, figure out how much you are worth, book an appointment with your boss and take along a list of your responsibilities and accomplishments as well as the average salary for your position at your company and in the industry. Remain dispassionate and stick to facts when making your case.
Tip: Instead of sounding accusatory with “I’m underpaid and deserve a raise” begin with “I think the work is worth more because...”
Apart from these times, it’s important to remember certain specifics when asking for a pay hike. Be in sync with your boss’ ups, downs, moods and personal preferences when it involves asking for a larger take-home.