How to Ask for a Raise

Three experts supply advice on the delicate subject of how to ask for a raise.

How to ask for a raise | BCBusiness

Three experts supply advice on the delicate subject of how to ask for a raise.

Initiating the awkward conversation with a boss to ask for a raise is something every employee dreads. Introducing the subject competently is an important skill for everyone from a part-time barista to a corner-office executive. For advice on how to ask your boss, with confidence, for more cash, we spoke to three experts: Kristina Svab, director of rewards at Coast Capital Savings; Roger Gurr, managing partner at executive-compensation consulting firm Roger Gurr & Associates; and Emma Hamer, senior associate at eHamer Associates Ltd., a career and performance consulting firm.

Write It Down

Companies often have difficult decisions to make when it comes to awarding bonuses or raises, especially in fields where success is difficult to define. Your best bet is to “keep track of the value that you are bringing to the company,” says Hamer. This could mean keeping a journal of your accomplishments or, as Gurr suggests, updating your resumé with any new skills or accolades you’ve collected over the past 12 months. Anything that moves away from subjective value toward verifiable success will strengthen your case for a raise.

Do Your Research

All of our experts agree that the first step before broaching the topic of a raise is extensive research into your industry, occupation and company. Gurr emphasizes the importance of having “an idea of what the value of your job is,” so that you know what an industry-standard salary looks like and whether or not you are behind or in line with your peers. Knowing your company’s financial situation is paramount as well; asking for a raise while a company is struggling is not only poorly timed, but shows that you are not aware of, or sensitive to, the business’s financial situation.

Look at the Big Picture

A lot more goes into your success and happiness at work than the dollar figure on a paycheque. Svab urges employees to “look at the entire package.” This means taking benefits, training opportunities and vacation time into account when looking at your compensation package. If a company isn’t in a position to provide a monetary raise, it may be able to offer you more time off, or the ability to work from home.

Keep Things Professional

One of the biggest mistakes that Gurr says employees can make when discussing salary is to make it into an emotional issue. The reasons that you need or want a raise are not nearly as important as the reasons that you deserve a raise, so stick to “making the business case for it,” suggests Hamer. Svab also urges employees to prepare for the possibility that your request will be answered with a resounding “no.” Being prepared means that if you don’t get what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to keep a calm demeanour and set the scene for another compensation conversation in the future.