January is one of the busiest months in most corporate settings. Employees are digging out from those vacation days they used at Christmas, while HR departments are getting benefits packages ready for their employees to renew.
On top of all of this, January and February are two of the busiest months for hiring new employees into most organizations. Management and HR departments are usually working together to identify and attract top candidates to fill their open jobs—which can often leave current employees feeling a little neglected early in 2017.
If you are like most tenured employees, you are probably wondering when your annual raise discussion is going to take place. At my previous place of employment, the effective date for raises was April 1st because it gave them time to send out evaluation forms, hold meetings regarding these evaluations and determine the exact amount (if any) of the raise that was going to come.
Unfortunately for many employees, not all organizations are structured like this. In fact, some operate under the “if you don’t ask, we aren’t going to offer” mentality, which presents another challenge for employees—how to ask for a raise.
I am sure there are guides out there that talk about how to prepare to ask your bosses for raise, so I won’t waste your time on going through all of the steps again. Instead, let’s focus on the things you should not be doing—or common mistakes others are making—when asking for a raise. This way you can hopefully avoid those mistakes, and get the raise you deserve in 2017!
Not Knowing Your Worth
This is a huge mistake many job seekers and currently employed make when it comes to finding a job or asking for a raise. If you do not know how much you should be getting paid, how are you supposed to be equipped to ask for more money?
For starters, it is 2017 people—the internet is your friend. There are great websites out there like GetRaised, Payscale, Comparably and more to help you find out how much you should be making. Many of these websites also take into account your location as well, ensuring you do not ask an employer for how much someone is making in your position in a city or state with a much higher cost of living.
After you determine how much you should be making, you should also come up with a way to determine your impact on company revenue as well. Knowing your worth on the open market is great, but knowing your worth and impact on the company you are working for is even better.
Taking the Wrong Approach
I have heard it time and time again throughout my career when people talk about asking for a raise. “Well, I have an offer letter from Company X…I will just take it to them and tell them to match or I am leaving.”
In most cases, that person had never even spoken to our boss or HR about wanting more money. They just assumed they were not going to get it, interviewed with another company and delivered an ultimatum out of left field to our employer. Want to know what happened? Our employer told them to pack their things and leave each and every time.
When it comes to asking for a raise, more employees need to remember what it was like to make those presentations many did in school. What is the point of this presentation? What are your supporting facts? What is the solution you propose? What is the future impact?
A prepared conversation asking for a raise that includes these elements won’t guarantee you a raise, but it will certainly create an environment that is more receptive for those who control the decision regarding your raise.
Not Having a Plan if they Say No
Not everyone has a pending offer from another company that can match their raise demands just waiting in the wings. So, what do you do when your company says no for one reason or another? Are you just going to walk out and find a new job? Probably not.
Instead, have a backup plan of potential non-raise items that could make you just as happy as a few extra dollars on your paycheck.
Do you live more than 10 miles from your office? Why not propose the opportunity to work remotely one or two days a week (if your job can be done from home)?
Working from home is something many employees do not think about as another form of compensation. Say you live in the suburbs and drive to the city every day for work, imagine what not having to drive an hour/hour and a half one or two days a week could mean for your sanity? You could sleep in a little bit longer and wake up more refreshed to tackle your tasks in the comfort of your sweatpants at your desk, kitchen table or from your couch.
On top of that, there is also a hidden financial benefit of working from home. Two work from home days a week could save you 120 miles worth of wear and tear on your car, as well as roughly 4-5 gallons of gas depending on your car type. That may not seem like a lot, but $10 a week equals $520 a year in savings on gas that could be used on a roundtrip plane ticket somewhere warm. I don’t know about you, but less aggravation and a free plane ticket sounds a lot better than just being told no.
Asking for a raise is tough for a lot of people. It is an awkward situation because in most cases your employers do not see it coming and give off the impression of being blind-sided by your request.
This is exactly why it is important to not make the above common mistakes when asking for a raise. Knowing your worth, being prepared and having a backup plan in case you are denied can only increase your opportunity to get some kind of compensation on top of your current salary/wages for a job well done.