Negotiating a pay raise or a promotion can be an incredibly intimidating thing to do. So much so that many people will go find a new job rather than going to their manager or HR to discuss a raise! If you like where you work, but also want to love your pay and/or job title, there are a few things to prepare that will help give you the self-confidence you need to make the ask go smoothly!
1) Know what your end-goal is going into the conversation. Is it a raise? If so, what’s your ideal number vs. what are you willing to accept. Is it an increase in vacation days/PTO? Is it a job title change? If so, what job title/position do you want? Is it all of the above? If you know what you want, you are much more likely to get (or exceed!) it.
2) Know your job’s value. We all offer intangible value/worth to companies, but thanks to tools like Glassdoor.com, Salary.com, and Payscale.com, etc., you can easily get an idea of what the market is currently paying for the job you have (or the one you want!). If you find out that you’re already being paid over the market value for your role, maybe it’s time to ask for that step up in job title that could also merit a pay raise?
3) Know what you’ve done to actually merit a raise. Sometimes you’ve just been in a role for a long time, and you’re dealing with a salary compression issue (i.e., if a company had to hire a new person today to replace you, they’d have to pay well beyond what you are currently making), while other times you’ve really gone above and beyond the expectations for your job title. If it’s the issue of salary compression, then sometimes just bringing in the documentation talked about in point 2 above can work, especially when you remind them of all the institutional knowledge you have from your years of experience with them. But if you’re doing a stellar job in your role and are looking for a merit increase, then take the time to create a succinct and easy-to-read document that outlines all of your major accomplishments that you can share with your manager (who could also share it with HR to help make the case for you).
4) Be cognizant of your timing and be ready to listen to understand. If you know when your company budgets are being confirmed, then get your pay raise/promotion request in prior to those budget approvals. Otherwise, your request may be put off or the whole of what you want may not be approved. If you don’t know the budget cycles, then make your case/request, but be ready to hear that they can’t make changes right now. Talk with your manager about what a timeline could look like to getting to your goal salary and/or job title.
5) Remember that there are often multiple paths to getting to where you want to be – don’t be afraid to push back if the offer isn’t what you want. No matter what you are looking for from your company, remember that you don’t want to go into a negotiation with a cynical attitude of, “Give me the raise/promotion I want, or I’m going to leave.” With a positive attitude and a sound case for it, there are often creative solutions to achieving your income goals. Here are a few examples:
- If you want a pay raise, but you’re in the top of your salary range or between budget cycles, then ask about potential bonus opportunities. Maybe you can’t get a 10% raise right now, but maybe you can get a discretionary bonus for hitting milestones or certain accomplishments over the next couple of quarters.
- Ask for that title change/promotion, which will put you into a new salary range
- If you value your personal time, maybe getting additional PTO/vacation days could be negotiated in lieu of more direct money immediately
While it’s not exactly negotiating, you should also know yourself and what you are willing to do if you get stonewalled or are told that there’s nothing the company can do for you in the foreseeable future. Are you willing to wait for a new role or pay raise to happen, or will you take advantage of an extremely strong job market and look for an external solution outside of your current company?