NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Do you want a raise at work? Who doesn't, really? But when it comes to getting more money, there's a right way and a wrong way to ask. The right way is going to put more money in your pocket. But the wrong way might not just not get you a raise -- it might have you packing up your desk sooner than you think. We spoke to two experts in the world of business communication to find out the most effective way to get a raise from your boss.
The Basics: Is It Time to Ask For a Raise?
Don Kelly, the vice president of human resources at Post University, says that "[t]iming is a really important component of this."
"A lot of us have grown up expecting an annual increase, but that's the exception rather than the rule these days," he added. He says that about 3% of all employees can expect an annual raise, up from a low 1.9% a couple of years ago.
So how do you know if it's the right time? Kelly says that there are three main factors to determining whether or not it's the right time to ask for a raise. First, you want to see how things are going in the company immediately around you. Look at the company's finances. Have there just been a lot of layoffs? Are sales down? Not a good time. Finally, you have to look at the market as a whole. For example, the week after the markets drop because of Chinese interest rates getting lowered is not the best time.What's more, you have to look at your own performance. As Kelly points out above, it's the exception rather than the rule for people to get pay increases just because they spent another year with the company. He advises people to ask the following questions:
- Have you saved the company money?
- Have you improved processes?
- Have you eliminated time in terms of how long it takes to do things?
- Did you bring projects in faster?
"Getting a raise is showing that your net worth to the company makes you more valuable than you used to be," says Kelly. That's not always easy, but you're going to have to make the case when you go in to talk to your boss about a pay increase. If you can answer those questions, you'll want to make an appointment with your boss specifically to talk about your pay increase.
How to Be a Thought Leader and Get a Raise
Jordan Harbinger, a partner at The Art of Charm, a social dynamics company based in Southern California, says that there are ways to make yourself a superstar around the workplace, even when it's totally impossible for you to show that you're saving the company money or making it more.
"If you haven't made money because that's not your area, you can show that you've gotten the company notoriety or become recognized as a thought leader," he says. He notes that if you start writing for a website about your industry and bring attention to your company, that can help your stock shoot up. The next step up from that is writing ebooks and internal guides for people on how to do things differently.
Another example, that's perhaps a bit more visible, is setting up an internal newsletter. "Pull together all the stuff that you're writing," Harbinger says. "That way, everyone in the company knows who you are and you're providing a service."
He says that you'll probably have to go through the HR department . "But if someone is already doing it, just do it better, send it to your colleagues and CC your boss," he says. Also, he adds, that you should be in for the long haul. "Don't do it for three weeks," he says. "Do it for a year, then ask for a raise. If they say no, you won't have a hard time finding another job."
"If they pay you the same as someone who gets in at 9 and leaves at 5 and does none of those things, it's insulting," he adds.
What Not To Do
Kelly also has some pointers on what not to do when asking for a raise. "Don't talk about what other people are making," he says. "That has never worked." Along those same lines, don't threaten to leave if you don't get a raise, because your boss might show you the door. Similar to this is saying that you should get a raise because you've had other offers. "That's not a good way to go into the discussion," Kelly says.
Finally, Kelly has one last piece of advice that's absolutely crucial: "Be ready to hear a no."