If you want to get more than the standard 5% to 10% annual increment given to most company employees, you will need to take matters into your own hands.
A business owner once told me that he pays his employees just enough to keep them from leaving, but not enough to make them happy. Your boss may not be as calculating as my friend above, but nowadays it is the rare company that gives over-generous salaries to mid-level and junior employees, although most companies don’t seem to have a problem paying their CXOs huge bonuses!
If you want to get more than the standard 5% to 10% annual increment given to most company employees, you will need to take matters into your own hands. Here are some tips to help you:
1) Find out what you are worth
Online sites like Glassdoor & PayScale allow you to find out how much other people with your job designation & education in India are getting. You can also peruse job sites like Naukri, Monster & Shine to see the salaries being offered for jobs like yours. Speaking to industry colleagues also helps. If you discover that you should be getting a higher salary, you have a good place to start your negotiations from.
2) Understand your company’s environment
Even if you are worth more than your existing salary, have a look at the current industry situation. Are other firms on a hiring spree or are job layoffs happening? Additionally, understand what is happening in the company itself. Has it recently raised funding or had good sales in the last quarter? The state of macro environment trumps any considerations you may have about how much you should be paid.
3) Timing is critical
“Strike while the iron is hot” is very applicable here. The best time to show what you are worth to the company is soon after you have accomplished something big. Have you recently scored a deal, made a large sale or done something that reduces company costs? The boss may be more inclined to see your value, when the memory of your success is still fresh.
4) Have all your facts at hand
Don’t walk into your meeting empty-handed and without having prepared beforehand. Brainstorm a list of concrete reasons as to why you deserve a raise, write them down, and rehearse them to ensure a confident and convincing delivery. In addition to listing your accomplishments, you may also want to mention a recent expansion in your responsibilities at work, additional tasks you’ve taken on, new strategies you’ve adopted, projects you’ve spearheaded, and any plans you have to further increase your department’s success. You may also want to print out a copy for your boss’ reference, which they can also show to their superiors who may be the decision makers in this case.
5) Speak confidently
Try not to be meek or use a passive voice when asking for a raise. The company is not doing you a favour, you are helping the company grow by giving your valuable talent to them. So, don’t say things like; “Do you think it is time you can consider a raise for me?”, be more assertive and say; “I believe I deserve a raise, and these are the reasons why”.
6) Practice, practice, practice
Write down your ‘speech’ and read it out loud multiple times. Ask friends and family for advice and practice your meeting with them. You don’t want your first time to be with your boss. However, don’t memorize it and sound like you’re reciting a play; this is just your skeleton, not a performance.
7) Be ready with a figure and don’t give up too easily
Chances are your boss will ask how much of a raise you’d like, but this is likely a trap. They know exactly how much they may or may not offer you. There might even be company policies on how much of a raise an employee can get (check your employee handbook for this). The first figure that’s stated, whether by your or your boss, is usually the high or low starting point for negotiation.
8) Be prepared for your next move
What are you going to do if your boss says ‘No’ to any kind of raise? If you accept it, no questions asked, you’re showing that you were bluffing. Your boss may think you’re a doormat and may not take you too seriously in future. Either be prepared to quit or get an agreement in writing for a future meeting and the clear steps your boss expects you to fulfill beforehand so that you get the raise at that future meeting.
9) Get offers in writing
Contrary to popular belief, verbal agreements are nearly useless. If you get a raise, get it in writing before the end of the day. This can be an informal email from your boss before the official letter is sent to you
10) Show gratitude
When you get your raise, give a genuine “thank you” to your boss. Also, ensure that you are worth the raise through your job performance after.
Getting a pay raise is not as difficult as you may think. If you are clear about your value and are able to show this to your boss, the whole process will be easy and pleasant for both sides.
(By Akhil Shahani, Managing Director, The Shahani Group)