Women who consistently negotiate their salary stand to make $1 million more over their career than women who don’t.
Asking for a raise can be the single most awkward conversation you have at work. But it shouldn’t be. With proper preparation and a foolproof strategy, asking for a raise is a simple conversation. We’ve put together this guide on how to ask for a raise to help you prepare for a successful raise negotiation.
If you’ve been in your role for a few months, chances are you’ve thought about compensation. Maybe you have a feeling you’re underpaid. You’ve learned some new skills, demonstrated your brilliance and are ready to be rewarded. You’re not alone in thinking you should be earning more cash – 64% of employees feel they are paid less than their worth.
It’s worth it to be brave and learn how to ask for a raise. Negotiating a raise has big pay consequences throughout your career. It’s been estimated that women who consistently negotiate their salary stand to make $1 million more over their career than women who don’t. While the study specifically focused on women, men will see a benefit from ensuring they are being paid their worth. Your salary follows you from one job to the next.
If you raise the idea of a raise, there’s certain steps to follow to ensure you’re successful. While 43% of Americans have asked for a raise, less than half of those requests resulted in a raise. In order to get what you deserve, follow these 5 steps to know how to ask for a raise next time:
Keep track of success
Surprise! You don’t get a raise for doing your job. You get “more” for doing “more”. However, when we think back over the last 6 months of work, it’s difficult to remember what you’ve accomplished. It’s much easier if you’re keeping track of your success as you go.
Similar to Tim Ferriss’ Jar of Awesome, you can keep a Jar of Wins or successful projects from work. I like using Trello, but you can also keep a physical jar of slips of paper. By plotting all of your small (and big!) wins and improvements over time, you’ll build a repository of reasons for a raise. If you’re continuing to create your own customer support curriculum or develop soft skills, you can keep adding to the list every day.
This list is also great for self-esteem boosts, resume and LinkedIn maintenance and to bring to reviews. When your manager asks what you’ve done to deserve more, point to this list of success. Prepare in advance and you can come to the conversation with #receipts.
Do your research
Salary research used to be squarely left to recruitment firms and hiring consultants. But in the last few years, there’s been many new services to help the average employee find what their worth.
If you find your compensation is below market value for your city and experience level, your conversation will be much easier. Take snapshots of your research and use them to back up your negotiations. If you did leave to find another role, you’d end up with a better salary.
If your salary is inline with market rate, all is not lost. You’ll just have work a little harder to prove you bring more than the average candidate to the table. Do you have more education? Unique hours? More experience in the specific industry you’re serving? All of these different valuable assets could raise your salary above “average” market rate.
Resources for customer support salary research:
Roleplay before the big day
Getting the words out can be more difficult than you think. You don’t want to stumble, waffle or get tongue tied when it matters.
Roleplaying a raise negotiation can help you format what you want to say, and recall it even when you’re super nervous. A mentor, friend or family member can help you practice the conversation.
Start with simply stating what you want to talk about. This might be at the end of a regularly scheduled one on one, a review, or a meeting you set specifically to talk about your compensation.
Manager: “Is there anything else you’d like to talk about”
You: “Yes, actually. I’d like to discuss updating my compensation to reflect my new skills and the value I bring to the team.”
Say the phrase out loud. Use a mirror, talk to your mentor, or try recording yourself over Google Hangouts. Keep practicing until it doesn’t feel awkward and you’re able to comfortably answer any questions your manager might ask you.
Here are a few more phrases to help you navigate the conversation:
Don’t Waffle – “I was just maybe thinking that we could possibly perhaps talk about a raise. If you want.”
Do Be direct – “I’d like to discuss updating my compensation to reflect my new skills and the value I bring to the team.”
Don’t Complain, whine or be negative – “No one appreciates me and everyone makes more money than me.”
Do Share objective research – “I found that the average market rate for customer support agents in our area is 15% higher than what I’m making. I’ve also completed four classes in management at our local college, which has helped me provide leadership to the team in these areas.”
Don’t Use Personal Circumstances – “My dog is really sick and my husband just lost his job, so I really need a helping hand.”
Do Point to Personal Success – “I’m consistently performing above expectations, and my last 3 reviews have all shown that. I close more tickets than anyone else on the team, and my CSAT score is consistently above 95%.”
Don’t Make Ultimatums – “I need a 10% raise tomorrow, or else I quit.”
Do Take time to consider your options, but do not make threats during your negotiation, even if you do intend to find another job.
Ask for a raise
Even if it’s awkward, you need to actually ask to get a raise. You’re more likely to be successful if you ask in person. It’s easier for managers to say “no” to an email, or ignore the request altogether.
If you have clear review cycles in your team, try to stick to these for raise negotiations. It’s likely your manager has budget allocated for raises at this time. You’re more likely to be successful if you ask at the right time.
If there’s recently been bad news like layoffs, a hiring freeze or a push to become profitable, it might be worth waiting. Your manager is likely to be more receptive during prosperous times and when they have money available to provide raises.
It’s likely your manager will ask for some time to process your request, look into the budget and decide on whether a raise is appropriate. That’s fine. That’s normal. But don’t let them keep putting you off. Ask for updates during your scheduled one on ones. Most companies should be able to make a decision one way or another within a month of the request. If the discussion draws on longer than that, you’re unlikely to be successful.
If you believe you’re being underpaid, and your manager isn’t able to accommodate your requests, it might be best to find a new job. While pay obviously isn’t everything, it is important to feel like you’re appreciated for your experience. Employees are more than twice as likely to leave a job they feel they aren’t paid fairly for, likely because it’s difficult to feel satisfied when you’re underpaid. It also might get increasingly harder to keep your customers satisfied, when you yourself are not.
Remember: negotiating a raise has a waterfall effect on your compensation for the rest of your career. Take the time to prepare, do your research and practice asking for a raise before you make your move. You’ll feel more confident. Your manager won’t be able to turn you down!