Nobody likes to talk about money, but lots of us feel undervalued, overworked, and underpaid. How do you put forward the business case of your career: negotiating a pay rise?
How to get a pay rise?
Prove your worth
Showing up to the table with no proven track record of your achievements, no credentials, no knowledge or experience that you’ve brought to the job will score no points at the negotiating table.
You must be prepared to justify your reasons why the company should invest more money in you. Remember, you’re trying to sell yourself purely in business terms: have you been hitting your targets? Has your performance helped contribute to their profit? How long have you been there? The more you can prove and justify your efforts and loyalty, the better your chances.
Ask for things that aren’t more money
These days many businesses face turbulent times, so you might not get a pay rise in cold hard cash. If budget is an issue is the case with your workplace, then try considering alternative non-financial bonuses: private health care, a corporate gym membership, more paid time off, or subsidised travel.
Better yet, try getting funding from your employer towards better training in the job, which will make you a more lucrative prospect in the future.
Don’t take a ‘no’ personally
It’s tough being rejected for a pay rise; that rejection can feel personal after all the effort and hard work you’ve put into your job.
When you feel undervalued, remember to always keep the door open for another conversation about a pay rise later in a few months’ time. If you decide it’s best to move on to another job, never try burning your bridges with your employer as you’ll need them for a reference, or you may have to work with them again in the future. Whatever the result, always be professional and maintain your dignity.
Know your self-worth, and your limits
Knowing your self-worth is crucial to any key negotiations like a pay rise, as it all comes down to how much you’re willing to accept, what you think is acceptable and what is not.
Never undervalue yourself or your potential by accepting less from an employer than what you truly want or need, regardless of circumstances. Be prepared to know how much you’re willing to push, and whether you’re willing to simply walk away if your employer undermines your worth. You have ample reason to reconsider your future at the company and either develop yourself further or move on to better things.
Sharpen your delivery
How you argue your case can make or break your employer’s decision. Writing in The Guardian, communications coach Robin Kermode offers some excellent negotiation tips: boost your prospects by getting to the point swiftly, making punchy arguments, staying relaxed and composed at all times, and remembering to listen.
According to research by recruitment industry website HR Grapevine, in a survey poll of 2,000 workers, less than half (46%) plucked up the courage to discuss a pay rise with their boss… despite more than half of them feeling underpaid. One in five feared losing their job!
That kind of fear is often the hardest hurdle to leap, so remember that it’s just starting a conversation with your boss. Ask for a meeting when they’re available and use this as an opportunity to put forward your case.
Money can be an awkward subject to face, even if you have a great relationship with your boss. But do you feel a pay rise is well earned? Well, it’s time to bite the bullet.