How Soon Should You Be Looking for a Raise Once You Have Been Hired?
The topic of money is difficult enough without adding the issue of discussing a pay raise, and often times it ends up stressing an employee so much that they would rather not face their boss to ask for a raise. The questions at the back of every employee’s mind revolve around when to ask for a raise and how often. In as much as it’s vital that you receive the remuneration you are entitled, you shouldn’t offend your boss when doing so.
There are several organizations out there that are proactive about the salary review process and usually conduct employee performance appraisals every six or twelve months, and during this time, they adjust salaries accordingly.
However, there are organizations that will only conduct a salary review when an employee asks for one.
How Often to Ask for a Raise?
It’s usually not good to ask for a raise more than one time in a year. However, there are exceptions to this if say, your employer declined to bump up your salary six months ago but promised to relook at the situation in four months based on the availability of funds or your performance.
Another ideal time to bring up the issue of a raise is following a significant achievement such as after you land a big client or secure a major grant, organize a successful event, close a big deal or after you introduce a successful cost-cutting process within the organization.
As a general rule, a person shouldn’t ask for a raise until they have worked for at least one year in the position.
Prepare Before You Ask
Take your time before asking for a raise and in the process line-up compelling rationale to validate the raise. Part of the preparation process involves keeping a record of all your accomplishments to act as evidence when you make your request.
Highlight the results that you have produced that have positively impacted the bottom line in your department. Examples of these results may include quality improvements in delivery, cost-saving measures, increased sales or even employee retention. If you have acquired additional skills through training or classes, do not hesitate to mention it. Further, mention any additional roles that you have taken on, successfully completed projects as well as situations where you have exceeded the set goals for the year.
Always remember that for managers, a raise is not necessarily justified by handling responsibilities detailed in the job description. A manager is always looking for that employee who goes over and above the call of duty to deliver high quality and consistent work. So remember to list down work that you have undertaken that lines up with your manager’s values and work that makes he or she look good.
Additionally, do your research. Find out the average salary for the position you hold in your area. Check if your current salary is at the market rate if it is lower or higher. Use your findings to support the amount that you are asking for.
Time Your Request
Timing is everything. Steer clear of asking for an increment if your boss is having an off day and what are the chances you will receive a raise if the company is not doing too well. Keep your ear on the ground and use wisdom. It is unlikely that asking for a pay raise when news of a high-level deal falling through breaks out will yield any results. If you had already scheduled a meeting, then ask to postpone the meeting.
Also, find out when raises are usually awarded in your company and apply for increment a couple of months earlier. For example, if the fiscal year of your organization is in June, and it is during this time that the company awards staff with promotions or raises, then consider making your case in April. Doing so allows your manager the time needed to consider the application and meet with other personnel involved in the salary increment determination process
Be careful not to come across as whiny. Do not go on about how you handle twice as much work as others do yet they earn more than you. It may be true, but you will only end up looking bad. Additionally, talking about how the cost of living including any loans that you may be servicing has gone up. Your personal expenses are not part of the manager’s concern or consideration.
The Possibility of a Promotion
Securing a promotion almost always comes with an enhanced pay. If an appropriate opening above your level comes up or if you can justify reclassification of your job at a much higher level, then do not hesitate to speak to management about a promotion.
Promotions attract higher raises than normal salary adjustments. A raise linked to a promotion range from 10 to 15 percent while normal salary increments for performance are usually 1-5 percent.
How to Ask for a Raise
So far, we have seen that there is nothing impulsive about asking for a pay raise and that preparation is crucial if you want to get one. Different schools of thought differ in the manner of asking i.e. face-to-face or in writing via email. It may be more comfortable for some people to make their case in writing and furthermore, the manager may prefer getting some time to both reviews and consider the request.
When to Ask for a Salary Raise
Once you start a new job, how soon can you ask for a raise? This is a question that creates jitters and discomfort especially when you do not the appropriate time to do so. Knowing when to have this conversation with your superior will help smoothen the process and put you at ease.
Initial Salary Negotiation
The best time to discuss and negotiate salary matters is before you are hired. It is the best time to negotiate how much you feel you should earn based on your expertise and your experience. Many inexperienced graduates normally feel a little inadequate and willing to accept whatever initial salary offered to them by a company. It is important to conduct research to get an idea of the remuneration range for the position you are applying for, even before you and your would-be employers discuss salary matters. Sites such as GlassDoor or Salary provide industry salary averages for various positions.
Once you receive an initial offer from a company, negotiate between 5-25 percent more than what was placed on the table. It is important to note that you may not have another opportunity to receive a raise until after one year, so you need to make sure that you are comfortable with the initial offer for this time frame. A company will only engage in a conversation about salary if they are interested in moving to the next level with you so don’t underrate yourself and don’t be timid about asking for more.
Many organizations conduct performance reviews which are usually held between you, your line manager and in some cases, your manager’s superior. Performance reviews are usually not the time to ask for raise, rather discuss how you have performed in your position during a particular time period, improvements as required and possibility any extra responsibilities that you can take on.
The desired outcome of a performance review, ideally, is to have in a place a roadmap that will detail your path over the next several months in the organization. Think of a performance review as a time to plant a seed to prove how well you are excelling at your current position and your willingness to take on additional responsibilities. Pay attention to the feedback you receive and more importantly on the areas where improvements are needed and start working on that. By doing so, you will start building and accumulating a good case that you can present for review when the one-year review comes around.
Structures vary from one organization from to another, and it may be possible to negotiate a raise three or six months after you have been hired, but it is unlikely that the increment will be a large one. However, do not go into a three month or six-month review thinking that you will be offered a raise. If you truly believe that you have earned the right to a mid-year raise, then ask for it. As mentioned earlier, companies are different, and there are organizations that do not plan for raises for anything less than one year. If there are dramatic changes to the position you were initially hired for and you find yourself handling so much more then exercise wisdom and your best judgment to find out if you can ask for a formal review.
One Year Review
Here is your opportunity to ask for a raise. Although the one-year review is the most common time to get a raise, as an employee you still need to be prepared. Again, ask for the raise – don’t just expect it to come. Present your case by demonstrating how well you did your job, goals exceeded, and additional responsibilities are taken on. If you are looking for a 15 percent raise in your salary, ask for 25 percent raise to allow room for negotiation.
The three key things an employee should keep in mind before asking for a raise are – be prepared, have tangible evidence to prove you have earned the raise, know the salary range for your position within your industry and finally, be strategic about when to ask for a raise since this will help your chances of getting the raise approved.
Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Asking for a Raise
It is critical to position yourself strongly before asking for a raise to make sure you receive a yes to your request. By asking yourself the below questions, you will be well on your way to getting to that strong position.
How long have I worked in this position?
Normally, you should work for one year before asking for a raise. Now, there are exceptions to this, for example, if the job has dramatically changed or if the responsibilities you handle have increased considerably compared to what was given to you at the time of hire. In these situations, it is reasonable to ask for a review. Under ordinary circumstances, you should wait for one year before asking for a raise.
When was my last raise?
Typically, you can ask for a salary review one year after your last increment. If say, you received an increment six months ago, you may have to wait another six months before you get another raise. Naturally, there may be exceptions to this as above mentioned.
How has my value increased?
A raise is a form of recognition that your value within the company has increased. Here, the company is acknowledging that your contribution is noticeably higher and that you deserve to be compensated accordingly. A persuasive argument for salary increment will revolve around this question and not around your personal expenses or the fact it has been a year since your last raise (or employment) or any other reason that does not relate to the value of work you have done. Talking of the value of work…
Do I know what my market value is?
In other words, what is the industry pay range for jobs similar to yours in your geographical area? It is important to find this out since it will determine the amount you can reasonably ask for. It helps gauge whether you are in touch with the market trend of if you are unrealistic about how much you could earn if say, you were to go elsewhere. Being aware of the going rate for your kind of work puts you in a stronger position to bargain.
Am I exceeding set expectations, or am I just meeting them?
The more the manager values the job you do, the higher the chances for getting a raise. If you are just meeting expectations and not going over and above the call of duty, then it is likely you will only receive a cost-of-living type of adjustment to your salary. However, if you are a top-tier performer, your manager will be motivated to retain your services and go out of their way to secure a sizeable increment for you.
Is this a good time to ask for a raise?
If your organization is going to a rough financial period or laying off staff or even going through a merger, they are most likely looking for ways to cut down costs not increase them. You do not want to come across as insensitive. Additionally, companies will usually freeze salaries if they are going through a difficult period.
What will my response be if my manager says no?
We always hope for a yes; however, there may be instances when the answer may not be so positive. It is important to prepare for a yes, a no or wait so that you are not caught off guard and end up responding in a way you would not otherwise. Work on what you will say if you get turned down. For example, you could ask what you need to get done to earn a pay raise in the future and when talking about the future, what a reasonable timeframe looks like. You may not necessarily like the answers you will receive, but you will be armed with information – at the very least.