Are you afraid of asking for a raise at work?
Not only do employees often feel uncomfortable chatting about money with their boss, but many times managers feel just as uncomfortable when forced to speak about this with their employees.
It can be scary, awkward and uncomfortable to talk about money. Unfortunately, to get better at it, you have to make yourself a bit uncomfortable for a while. It's not easy, but it's possible to get better at asking for more money and seeing more dollar signs come your way in return!
So I'm going to offer some advice in this post. And it may not be for you. If you don't apply this specific approach, that's okay. My main point I'd like to get across here is that we can think differently about pay. And once you start thinking differently, the asking part starts to become easier.
First, let's break down this idea of salary into a more simple concept. Salary or earnings from a job is a simple exchange of dollars for services. When you get a job, you do what your job description says, and in return, you get paid. Now, you may get away with getting paid and not doing your job, or not doing it very well, but for the purposes of this post let's keep it black and white: services rendered --> payment received.
So there comes a time while you're working your job, delivering your agreed upon services, when you feel you should be making more money for what you are offering your employer. You feel you are providing more value and output than what you're being paid.
What do you do?
You could wallow in your own pity and complain under your breath that you do way too much for the company and are accepting way too little money in exchange.
You could whine to your coworkers and friends that your job sucks and doesn't pay enough.
You may even go as far as mentioning to your boss that you want or need more money ("you know, it's not cheap living in New York City..."). And your boss very well may reply, "we just don't have money in the budget for any raises this year."
All these things will not do you any good. They do not get to the point of what money is all about: Services rendered --> Payment received.
In order for a boss or manager to even consider offering a raise, they need to be told, and shown in a very clear way WHY they should raise your pay. They run (or manage) a business. Your salary is a line item in their business.
The business wouldn't choose to buy a random piece of Sales Software or new set of computers without first researching all options, their features, benefits and COST, would they? No.
You are no different than a fancy new CRM your company wants to buy and implement.
So you have to show YOUR features, benefits and costs, so they can weigh their options and see if you're worth it.
You can't assume that your boss recognizes this without slapping them in the face with it. And if they do notice all the things you do, exactly how you provide value and why you are a strong contributing member of the business, then you still have to prove to them why you should get paid more money (so they can have a solid leg to stand on when they have to advocate for you to their own boss).
Start thinking of yourself as an asset to the company. Do they want to lose you? Or pay you more? Are the benefits you provide them worth the payout?
You'll notice that all this will not work if you are just going about your job, not contributing anything special and barely delivering on your deliverables. Believe it or not, you have to work to get paid more. You have to prove yourself.
First, list, draw, or diagram all the things that you deliver to the company that is part of your job description. Then under all those things, be sure to represent how you are meeting or exceeding those deliverables.
Second, add in anything outside of your job description that you currently do/deliver. Again, under these items detail how you are meeting or exceeding these deliverables (be as specific as possible, using numbers, percentages and objective remarks wherever possible).
Then, if you really want to make a point, list out items that you'd like to add to your deliverables list, and create a mini action plan of how you see yourself carrying those things out to benefit the company.
Now, you may not be able to do this based on what your job is, but it's always promising for managers to see an employee provide ideas in a thought out and actionable manner. Even if these ideas are not or can't be used, you will be seen as more valuable because you are thinking outside the box and are acting like a committed member of the team ready to help the business move forward.
Managers and employers want problem solvers. They want people who take action. Problem solvers get paid what they want.
Finally, come up with a dollar number that equates to the worth you just drew out on a piece of paper. After explaining your diagram/list to your boss, you'll ask for that dollar number.
What if this doesn't work?
You may be yapping that all this work may not give you the raise you want. But think of it this way - what's the worst that can happen? Your boss says no? Ok, then you go back to work as usual and start searching for a job that will pay you what you believe you are owed.
You get fired? Not likely at all. Showing your value in a thought out and truthful manner will certainly not risk you getting fired. Remember, you're having an open, honest and frank discussion here with your manager. No one can fault you for that.
Even if you do not get a salary bump, what you have done is created something useful. You could show your fancy diagram to a new potential employer to show how you changed and/or helped a former company. You have written out your current value. That's not a bad thing. Learn from it. Use it to help you grow and figure out how to make positive change and progress at your current or next company.
And now that you have ideas of more ways you can provide value at your company, you can try to negotiate a raise after implementing some or all of this plan.
Remember, it all starts with you. Do the tough homework first. Then ASK.
I'm Kim. I like to work hard but not enough to stop having fun and enjoying life. I hope I never stop learning and exploring. Other people inspire me to be and do better every day. Read on for reflections on work and play.