When you’re making the maximum effort, it’s important to receive a fair salary. Executive coach Pat Roberts says there’s no definitive ‘best time’ to have a salary discussion, but that it’s best not to do it during your performance appraisal.
“During your performance appraisal, you are usually offered ideas around areas of improvement, so it’s important to demonstrate your commitment to growth, development and to the company by demonstrating how you have achieved growth in these areas,” says Roberts.
“It’s always good to have a salary discussion after you have done something really outstanding, but that’s not always possible. Choose a time when your manager is in a good frame of mind and not under extreme pressure.”
She adds that significant increases could be linked to the completion of studies you have undertaken and excelled at, although your manager may want to see how those studies impact your performance before awarding an increase linked to them. Another good time to ask for an increase is when you have consistently outperformed your contracted performance targets.
Roberts suggests the following tips for negotiating an increase:
Be honest with yourself
While you know you need more money, do you really deserve it? Ask yourself the following questions: Have I been at the company long enough? Have I taken on more responsibility since I started? Have I exceeded expectations?
Know what the standard is
Do your research. Understand what people at your level in other companies are earning, or speak to recruiters about earning potential. It’s important to have documented evidence of the industry standard as anecdotal discussion about what your friend earns won’t hold water.
Set up a meeting
Research shows that managers are more inclined to agree to a salary increase on a Thursday or Friday, when they are winding down the week and are likely to be less stressed.
Ensure you have prepared a well-thought-out request for a raise. Stumbling and murmuring will imply that you don’t believe in yourself. If you must, write your points down and practise presenting them.
Be clear on your value-add to the business
You need to articulate how you have achieved or surpassed expectations. A file of evidence, which could include your achievements, great work or your ideas that have been implemented should support this, as well as how you have gone beyond your normal delivery expectations. It’s also vital that you don’t only focus on the past, but include a list of things you can do to further the business in the future.
Be positive not pushy
While it’s important to be positive and confident, don’t push your ideas on your manager. Present the facts and give your manager the space and time to consider your request.
Ask for more than you want
Don’t ask for a specific amount until your manager indicates that a raise is possible. When discussing an exact figure, ask for more than you want as your manager may negotiate down from your original ask.
Stick to the facts
Keep emotion out of the discussion and steer clear of listing reasons why you need more money. It’s all about what value you can add and nothing else.
If your request is declined
If you are told an increase is impossible at the moment. Ask when it would be appropriate to pick up the discussion again and if there is anything more you can do to support your motivation for an increase.