Employees are to tread cautiously around the awkward subject of salaries and the almost unapproachable conversation of an increase... Putting your neck out and asking your potentially short tempered line manager or "boss" for more money can be intimidating and more stressful than meeting your mother-in-law for the first time! More seriously, though, says Robyn Hebbert, Recruitment Consultant at RecruitGroup, "if you don't approach the topic with the appropriate information and at the right time it could potentially be harmful to your future with the company and relationship with your employer, however, it is a healthy discussion to have and has the potential to enhance your value as an employee with the company."
If you are looking to ask for a raise you obviously have your reasons as to why you think you deserve one. Robyn advises: "There are many factors to consider when determining when to ask and how much you should ask for:
Information: The first bit of advice I can give and the most important, is to gather the facts of why you deserve a raise. Do your homework. It is important to understand the value you add to the business, both real and perceived so you are able to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what your job is worth. Find out how much revenue you have generated, how much money you saved the company, the new business you brought in and the new responsibilities you have taken on, etc."
Reason: if your reason for a raise is because you have been at the company for a certain amount of time or that you have done everything that you were supposed to do, you may want to rethink your motive. Just because you have managed to occupy the same position for a certain about of time, it doesn't mean you deserve a raise. Prove yourself, not how long you've been there. Focus on your strengths and the value you bring to the company. Raises are not only about what you have done, but also what you can bring to the company in the future. People get raises because they add value. If you have proven to be only a mediocre asset to the company then you may find yourself being laughed out of your boss's office.
Don't get personal: A tip when asking for a raise is to avoid complaining. Personal problems are just that, personal. They do not relate to your job at all. These things obviously mean a great deal to you and are at the forefront of your mind but they do not factor into whether or not you deserve a higher salary. Make it about your strengths, highlight your accomplishments and hard work without coming across as negative and whiny.
Timing: A point that you need to consider is timing. Is the company going through a tough time financially, cutting costs, retrenching? Now you may not be a good time to ask. It is important to be in tune with the business. If you go in guns blazing asking for an increase and the company is not doing well then this will also show you are not keeping up to date with the company and you will end up looking foolish. However, if they are enjoying fat profit margins, high sales volumes, huge expansion, now would probably be a good time to ask for a raise, but have an honest and objective view. If you think you add more value than you do, you are in for an awkward discussion.
Be realistic: When asking for a raise be realistic, raises may only occur as the market related value increases. Find out what the industry standards are. Has your pay kept pace with the industry? What is the current market rate for someone doing your job? If you are underpaid, according to standard industry norms, then that could form part of your case. If you are overpaid then you probably shouldn't be looking to ask for a raise. Merit increases are generally in the range of 1% - 5%."
In conclusion, most discussions like these come down to staff stepping up to the plate in terms of responsibility and efficiency. If all your stats add up and show you are a valuable resource, you explain your worth and value to the company, at the right time and in a professional manner without sounding like you are complaining, then you may stand a good chance of getting what you want.
If your request gets turned down and a raise is not possible for you now, then ask for feedback on where you can improve and what you can do to merit an increase. If your responsibilities have increased, ask for a better job title as this may not get you an immediate raise but it will allow you to make higher level pay comparisons in the future.
Robyn Hebbert - Specialist Recruitment Consultant - RecruitGroup Silver Stream Business Park 10 Muswell Road Bryanston 011 465 3360
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