The idea of asking for a salary increase is so daunting that most people avoid it like the plague. The prospect of being rejected outright and being told that “you’re not good enough” is enough to paralyze most of us into inaction. The fear might be real, but there are steps we can take to maximise our chances of success so we don’t make a complete fool of ourselves.
Besides, “if you don’t ask, the answer is always no”. If you feel that you’ve earned a salary increase, you owe it to yourself to start a discussion with your boss about it. Putting it out there gets the conversation started about the topic.
So how exactly do you make a compelling pitch for a salary increase? Let us show you the ways:
1. Start by highlighting your contributions over the past year
It’s important to remind your boss of your notable contributions over the past year – we get so caught up in the daily hustle and bustle that we tend to forget what happened six months ago. Keep it light and down-to-earth so you don’t come across as demanding or pushy.
“Thank you for making time to see me today. I wanted to have a quick catch-up with you about my performance. As you’re aware, I’ve been working here for [ ___ number of years] and have been taking on more responsibilities lately, particularly in [insert a few examples where you’ve made significant contributions].”
2. Highlight how those achievements have directly benefited the team or company
Here’s where you get down to the details and remind your boss how valuable you are to the team and company. Highlight your achievements in a quantitative way: use figures to demonstrate the value of each achievement.
“In [project A], I increased production levels by 80% by implementing lean manufacturing processes.”
“As a result of using my cold call sales script for our outbound call operators, we’ve seen a record 30% increase in conversion from leads to paying customers.”
“I’ve been consistently hitting my performance goals every year, even exceeding them last year in the case of [state project details].”
“For the last financial year, I acquired ___ number of new contracts, which contributed ___ amount in additional sales revenue for the company.”
The point is to highlight clear figures that demonstrate how valuable you are to the team and company.
3. Phrase the request in a pleasant way
While you want to get to the point as quickly as possible, it’s important to segue into it in a casual and pleasant way so as not to come across as demanding or tactless.
“I feel that I’ve learned and grown a lot on the job, and I’m excited about the opportunities the future holds for my continued career progression with the team and company. Nevertheless, I feel that my achievements and contributions justify a salary increase that better reflects my current responsibilities and the value I bring to the organisation. Is this something we can discuss?”
4. Name your figure
If your boss seems open to the prospect and asks how much you have in mind, go ahead and name your figure. On the other hand, if your boss seems resistant to the idea and asks for time to review your request, don’t push it. Give him or her time to mull it over. Ask for a timeline on when you should follow up on it though. Suggest one week if possible – you want to revisit it while the memory of your conversation is still fresh in your boss’ mind.
If, on the other hand, your boss informs you that he can’t justify your salary increase at present, ask him for specific tips on what areas of your performance you should focus on improving, and clear goals you should work towards, to make this happen. The good news is, even if you don’t get the increase right away, you’ve made your boss aware of your feelings on the matter.
Asking for a salary increase is really a matter of negotiation. To increase your chances of success, you need to present compelling facts and figures that justify your salary increase – simply put, you need to put yourself in your boss’ shoes. Make it easy for him or her to say yes to your request. And if your best efforts don’t work, leave the door open so you can revisit it in the near future.
Have you ever asked for a salary increase, and was your boss open to the idea? Share your insights with us in the comments section below.