For many people, asking for a salary increase can be difficult, especially in these turbulent times, however with a bit of preparation you’ll be well on your way to success. Here’s my tips:

1. PLAN

Planning is key and requires forward thinking throughout the year. Take some time to build your evidence. Think creatively here – it’s not just about the everyday. Meeting targets and KPIs is not ‘value add’. You need to put yourself in your boss’ shoes for a minute and consider what’s going to be of most value to them. 

It does help if you have tangible achievements, however it’s not always necessary. Think about projects you’ve contributed to, collaboration with other team members, extra tasks or responsibilities you’ve taken on, new processes you’ve initiated, customer accolades received or major deadlines met. Think about things you did that made you feel proud. In your day to day work, try to go above and beyond what’s expected of you some of the time. And remember to keep notes and records of all your achievements, savings, accolades and commendations.

2. PREPARE

Understand the process within your organisation and be prepared. Policies around performance reviews and salary increases vary from organisation to organisation. Many are closely aligned and others are not. Some employers give salary increases to those who ask and others have a very formal process to review everyone’s salary within a specific timeframe. There are also factors outside of your control that may impact on whether or not you receive an increase. They include things like current economic stability, competitor influences and how well the business has performed.

You should also look at the strength of the market and research how difficult (or easy) you would be to replace. Think about your unique skills and abilities that might make you irreplaceable. Ascertain what your value is on the open market by researching job sites and salary surveys, asking industry associations, talking with recruitment consultants or friends in similar roles.

Combine this information with your record of achievements and contributions and if need be prepare a written document. Organise to meet with your boss and, if possible, try to do so at a time that coincides with the completion of a big project or another positive situation.

3. PITCH

The last and all important stage. Again, put yourself in your boss’ shoes and ask yourself “Why do I deserve a salary increase?”. Have a clear idea of what you’re looking for and ask for it – remember your evidence and keep it clear and succinct. Don’t expect too much, don’t plead and don’t become confrontational. Also, make sure it’s the right time – manage your boss’ emotions and don’t try to do this if he/she is stressed or under pressure. You can have the best plan in the world, but if you try to impact your boss when they’re not receptive, you will fail.

Remember to be open minded – there are rewards other than money such as training, education, representation on a major project, increased responsibilities that will expose you to new skills (and make you more marketable), flexible work conditions, improved equipment, or if all else fails, try to agree another review/discussion in three months time. Good Luck!

For career advice and interview coaching on how to negotiate your remuneration package in job interviews, please see our Interview Training services. 

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