Negotiating a Raise

Many employees, having put in their time working at a perceived discount rate, begin to mull the possibility of getting a raise. The thought process involved often involves self-justification in terms of what they deserve or are entitled to. The walk to the decision-maker and subsequent bursting of the balloon leaves them upset, perhaps to the point where they leave the company and find another job, only to repeat the cycle a short while later.

In response to that, this article is intended to provide food for thought when thinking about negotiating for your next raise.

Timing

When asking for a raise, try to time it so that the request coincides with a recent success for the company that you were critical in pulling off. While those thoughts are fresh in people’s minds, it’s easier to convince others of your value to the company. The success should be in proportion to the nature of your position and the amount of a raise you are trying to get.

Additionally, some companies have policies they follow when giving raises – they may only be granted at certain times of the year (often coinciding with an annual performance review). Make sure you are familiar with the policy, and work within it. If they are tied to performance reviews, you may want to negotiate for an early performance review instead of negotiating directly for the raise.

Last, don’t forget the person you are actually negotiating with. Book a time with them when you will be able to present your case for a raise. Make sure that you won’t be interrupted during your meeting, and that as far as you know, the other person has not been having a bad day. If you feel they are not in the mood for such a discussion, ask to reschedule your meeting for another day.

Value

If you’re asking for more money, it’s only right that you prove that you’re worth the additional cost. Remember, the boss is not in the business of supporting other people, they’re in the business of making money. As such, if the increase in profits is marginal as a result of your work, don’t expect more than possibly a marginal increase in pay.

One thing that is often difficult for people to understand is the inherent value of the position they hold in the company. An employee doing a certain type of work has a value that is measurable. At the end of the day, the maximum value of a given employee is a function of the cost to replace that employee with one or more other people. A job well-done is not enough to merit a pay increase, but a job done in a fraction the time budgeted is. The reason for this is that employees are paid to do their jobs well, but if they can increase their productivity without sacrificing quality, then they’re worth as much as the increase in productivity.

Entitlement

The only thing an employee is entitled to is what’s stipulated in their contract. In regard to pay, that amount is fixed. Any negotiation that starts with the words “deserve” or “entitled” or “fair” are unlikely to succeed. Present your case why you’ve earned a raise, and then let the boss decide to give you what you deserve, or what’s fair. At the end of the day, if you truly believe that you are not being treated fairly, you can choose to go elsewhere to find employment, somewhere where your value will be appreciated and rewarded.