How to Get a Raise from Your Boss

In this article, I want to share with you how you can get a raise from your boss. I have been on both sides of this equation, where I have been a boss giving raises to people, as well as on the flip side of things where I’ve been going to my boss asking for a raise. So I think I have a unique perspective to share when it comes to the best ways that you can get a raise from your boss.

Step #1: Do the work

The first one is really to do the work. The first thing that’s really important for you whenever you’re trying to ask for a raise from your boss is to actually have the stats sheet to prove that you’re worthy of that raise. The worst thing from my past experiences of being a manager is when I have somebody on my team, that’s coming to me at their annual review or just coming out of the blue asking for a raise and they don’t have a clear reason as to why they’re asking for that raise.

You frankly tell don’t deserve a raise if you haven’t been a multiplier to the business that you’re working for. So the very first step is in the case where we haven’t been an absolute monster and been a force of nature in terms of getting results for the business in the last few months, then don’t go about asking for a raise.

First, build up your reputation, build up your stats sheet, as well as your impact. That way you can write that sort of stuff down and then have a more productive conversation the next time that you are ready to ask for a raise.

Step #2: Preview the conversation

Assuming though that you have actually added a ton of value to the business, the second step you’re going to want to do is you’re going to want to actually preview the conversation. Oftentimes when people are asking for raises, they’ll go about doing so with no heads up to their boss. They’ll just come out of the blue and be like, “Hey boss, I really need a raise.” And frankly, that’s just not a very friendly or kind way to bring about that conversation, especially when you’re making an ask like asking for more money from the person that’s paying you.

The best way to avoid making this mistake is to just preview the conversation. So what you’re going to want to do is you’re going to want to sit down and just send over a quick message to your boss in whatever method is most suitable to your guys’ communication methods, whether that’s on Slack, via email, or maybe a quick phone call, whatever the case may be, the message is going to go something along the lines of “Hey boss, something I’d like to talk about in our next one on one is my compensation. I just wanted to give you a heads up that I will be preparing a few different things to share with you in term as well as considerations as we look ahead to the next six months” or something along those lines. But the main thing that you need to communicate in, however you decide to communicate this message is we are going to be talking about my compensation.

And I know that for some of you, you might get a little nervous or anxious by asking for that. But frankly, if your boss is going to take offense of you giving them a heads up, that you’re going to be talking about this well, but in the case where your boss doesn’t want to have this conversation at all, it might be time for you to consider looking for another job because your boss probably isn’t all that supportive about meeting your needs as an employee.

So in the case where you have gone ahead and previewed your conversation at this point, we should have a few days to prep for this conversation.

Step #3: Do your research

And that leads us to step number three, which is where you’re going to want to actually do your research in terms of some comparable as well as aggregate a quick little resume of what you’ve accomplished in the last six to 12 months for the company that you’ve worked for.

So digging into the first part, what you need to do is you need to do your research in terms of what the market is paying for your respective role. If, for example, you’re a marketing analyst somewhere and you’re making 65 grand and it turns out that even you look up different job descriptions, you find other marketing analysts that are offering 75 to 85 grand, well, then you’re being underpaid and then you need to make a log of that particular job listing. So the goal for you at this point is to find at least three to five comparables to what you do for the company you work for today. In other words, the job title should be more or less the same, and the responsibility should be more or less the same as well.

And the only main difference is being either the pay or the equity package if you’re working for a startup. In terms of places to look for these particular listings, you can look at things like work at a startup if you’re in the startup road from Y Combinator. You can also check out Angel List and or Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Indeed. These are all great places that you can find a lot of valuable information around compensation data, as well as job descriptions and roles.

Aside from the accomplishments, as well as the comparables that you’ve researched, it’s also helpful to work in something here where you reference the sort of steps that you’re going to want to take professionally in the next six months to year in terms of continuing to grow and add additional value to the company. So this can be something where you come up with the professional development plan of sorts, where you come up with some sort of skeleton in terms of what you’d like to do to further accelerate the sorts of results that the company can expect from you.

The reason why you want to do this is ’cause it demonstrates that you’re approaching things from a growth mindset and that you’re going to be very different from the person you are today in six to 12 months. And that the company is going to be a direct beneficiary of those particular changes you’re going to make.

Aside from finding comparables what you’re also going to want to do is you’re going to want to think about what are your proudest accomplishments in the last few months of your job. Maybe this is going to be something that’s going to be involving your direct job responsibilities, as well as things you’ve done for the business beyond your day-to-day responsibilities.

If, for example, you’re really great at cultivating culture or being a promoter of the culture of your company, then it’s going to be something which you’re going to want to bring that up in that conversation, where you can talk about some of the additional responsibility is that you’ve taken as a member of the team. The most important thing here is to think in the STAR approach, that’s where you’re going to want to outline the situation, the task you were dealt with, as well as the actions you took and the results that you got. When you get to the results section, I want you to be as quantitative as possible.

What that means is that if there are any numbers, I want you to figure out what that sort of difference was in terms of the percentage before and after, and or the dollar amount that you may have brought in. So if, for example, you’re a sales rep, maybe you brought in a hundred grand more than your nearest peer. And so that’s something you want to bring up in your conversation. The biggest thing that you’re trying to highlight is just how critically important you are to the business that you’re working for today. Because when you create that sort of feeling with your boss, well, they are more inclined to actually accept or want to give you more than what you ask for.

Step #4: Meet and state your case to your boss

So now that we’ve gone over the first three steps, the fourth step is to go ahead and meet and state your case to your boss. At this point, it’s going to be something where you’re going to want to start with gratitude. You’re obviously going to want to thank them for the last XYZ time period since the last time you guys had a compensation review, and then you’re going to want to talk about how excited you are to continue to be working on growing as an individual and as professional with the business that you’re working on.

And then what you’re going to want to talk about is how you’re so excited to continue growing professionally with the company that you’re working for today. The reason why you start here is because you never want to just start out a conversation being like, “Hey boss, can you give me a race? That’s just not going to work.

And so what you want to do here is you just want to express your gratitude because you still have a job today. And it’s something in which you recognize that it’s been a unique environment where you’ve been set up for success. And then once you’ve stated your gratitude, what you’re going to want to dig into is the actual conversation.

So, what you’re going to want to say at this point is something along the lines of, as we look ahead to the next year, I’d like to make sure that my value reflects both my past, as well as my future contributions at this company. And then this is where you’re then going to share your comparables as well as your achievement.

So you’re going to want to talk about how over the last six months I have brought in more sales than any of my peers. I have also generated more leads than any of my peers through the direct sales efforts of my outbound campaigns and something along those lines. So talk about how you brought in, for example, more pipeline in any of your peers on the rest of your sales team or how you’ve generated more leads through your outbound campaigns than your closest peer. Whatever the case may be, talk about your accomplishments first and then after that talk about the comparables.

This is the part where you’re going to want to talk about how you notice that there are other roles in the market that have very similar job responsibilities as well as titles. However, the compensation packages are a little bit higher based on X, Y, Z, and so on. Once you’ve stated all this information, this is where you then want to ask for your raise. This is where you’re going to want to say something along the lines of, with all this in consideration, I like to be at X and I’d love to work with you in terms of how we can make that possible in the next six months.

The reason why we ask in this way is because it doesn’t necessarily force your boss to have to say no to you today in the case where it’s not in the budget. So in this situation, what they can think about is how to actually get to your ask, and it’s done in a way in which it’s pretty much a company-friendly move because you’re giving the company some time to also make the appropriate adjustments in order to get you to where you also want to be.

So it’s something in which you’re being a cooperative negotiator overall, and that can get you to your outcome. That said, if you don’t want to wait for another six months, what you can also do just make your ask and then stop there and see what they say from there. But what I recommend is in the case where you’re not going to give that window of time for the company to kind of bridge the gap of where you want to be, then it would be really beneficial to actually have this conversation a few months ahead of when your actual normal comp cycle is going to happen.

The reason why is because this will give the company enough time, as well as your boss enough time in the case where your boss potentially needs to go to a manager above them to get the clearance to pay you.

So step number five is to listen actively for your boss’s feedback and then outline the next steps from there. Hopefully from this process, you get what you’re asking for. In the case where you don’t, it might be a good time for you to reassess whether or not the place that you’re working at right now is the place you want to be in the next six to 12 months. Right now, the job market is hotter than ever. So don’t be afraid to go out and get what you’re worth.

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