How to Ask for A Raise?

by Amanda Pestana

Forbes - 8 Managers Share the Best Way to Ask for a Raise (And Get It) provides a very informative approach for asking a raise. A few things they mentioned were the following: share your goals, proactively communicating wins, focus on why you deserve it, research, and prepare yourself to hear a no. However, how do you ask for a raise if your industry has a high turnover rate? How to ask for a raise when your company tries to cut costs continuously? How to ask for a raise if you are afraid of losing your job?

There are several components to take into consideration before asking for a raise, and honestly, it is hard to ask for one in the first place. I was recently consulting a dental assistant on how to ask for a raise. There were a few questions we needed to discuss before coming up with a quick and effective strategy to present to their employer.

These are a few questions you should ask yourself before asking for a raise:

(1) How does your employer view you? Is your work valuable to them?

Why are these questions so important? Because if your employer does not value your work, the chances of getting a no when asking for a raise is higher. Although employers are shifting their company culture to prioritize and develop their business influencers (employees), many employers still don't. Therefore, analyze the current outlook your employer has towards you. If it is a positive one, then the likelihood of them considering giving you a raise is higher.

(2) Put yourself in the employer's shoes, are you easily replaceable?

This question aligns with your work being valuable, but it focuses more on the unique skill sets and professional capabilities that you bring to the table, and no one else does. Are you integral to the business presently, and do you align with the company's future growth aspirations? Would finding someone else like you be almost impossible?

For example, the dental assistant I was consulting; her ability to multi-task is so unique that her employer needs her to work in three different dental offices. No one else can multi-task at the level and agility that she does. This makes her extremely difficult to replace, and her employer holds her work to a high standard.

Not all employers have a culture that views their employees as irreplaceable. I wish all of them did, but the reality is that the majority do not. Therefore, asking yourself these questions is essential when developing the strategy to ask for a raise effectively.

(3) How much should you ask? $$$

This is the big money question. How much is enough when asking for a raise? Alternatively, how much is too much when asking for a reason? The idea behind negotiating the price for any industry is to give a number that you feel comfortable negotiating down. In other words, provide a number a little higher than the quantity you would be pleased with. Also, do your due diligence and research the salaries and rates for your industry. There are resources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Glassdoor that provide the base rate or range of wages per sector and position. Also, be realistic with the value that you are requesting. Work on identifying a number that is within the industry norm and realistic. Take into consideration your expenses, commute, and other components that influence your finances.

For example, if you would like a $300 raise per payroll period, begin by asking for a $500 increase per payroll period. If they say, we can meet you at $350 instead of $500; you still won your raise around the number you were aiming. However, please keep in mind a realistic request and a reasonable amount.

(4) What if I don't get the raise? What should I do?

Asking for a raise is hard. Getting a no is even harder, and what you do after is vital. I have seen employers give a no, but after a couple of months, switch their minds and give the employee the raise they had previously asked. I have also seen an employer get upset because the employee asked for an increase, and the work situation gets even more complicated, and the work environment more hostile. If a raise is the only thing that will keep you at your job, and there is nothing else that you like about the place you work at, then it might be time to find a company that you will want to go to work for every day.

We spend 1/3 of our lives at work; it is an average of 90,000 hours spent at work for one's entire lifetime. Therefore, work in a place that you are proud of being a part of, and love to work at. If your employer says they are not going to give you a raise, but there are so many other perks and things about the work culture that you love, then keep motivated and engaged. Although you got a no at first, you might get a yes later. However, if you are miserable at your job, a raise will not resolve the problem. It might even make it worse.

To summarize, after you answer all these questions, and take into consideration your career aspirations, decide whether to ask for a raise or not. If you decide to ask for a raise and get a no, don't feel discouraged. One door closing means another will open.

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