top-performerTough Conversation: Asking for a Raise

Highlight your strengths. This is a business discussion, so focus on how your strengths have added value to the business. Remind your manager of your key skills—hard and soft—and how valuable they are. Share what training you’ve done, the ways you’ve kept up and maybe ahead in your field. “Here are 3 examples of how my work this past year has increased revenue/market share/retained customers/built our brand . . .”

State what you want: the number. And, again, stick to business. Don’t bring the personal into the picture: buying a house or having a child isn’t a compelling reason to ask for a raise. In addition, don’t compare yourself to your peers. Do your
research on comparable positions and salaries—trying to get as many facts (not stories) as possible. “Looking at similar roles in this area of the country, I feel the salary that accurately reflects my contributions is . . .”

If the answer is “No,” don’t take the rejection personally. It’s OK to ask why the answer was no. It’s not OK to argue with your manager; doing so will almost certainly not change his/her mind.

Thank your manager for his/her time and thoughts and express your disappointment in carefully stated words: “I’m disappointed” or “I wish the answer were different.”

If you wish to broach the subject again, one strategy is to wait until review time, as that’s when most merit increases or raises are given. Continue to build your case of how you’ve dramatically affected the business.



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