A deep dive into asking for a raise

With the end of the year rapidly approaching it is a good time to review your performance and decide if you should be asking for a raise or not in the next few months, especially as your year-end review is scheduled. Once you have assessed the situation what are the next steps? Don’t worry, we’ve got you.

1. Review your situation

First of all, do you deserve this raise? Did you hit all your goals? You really need to look and assess if you can legitimately ask for a pay increase. Were you given more responsibility? Did you go above and beyond? You should have been keeping track of your performance all year especially when you received high marks or praise from your manager. You want to arm yourself with examples that show how you have helped the company in a big picture, ROI way. If you can’t memorize them be able to quickly access these examples.

2. Scheduling

You need to be proactive and organized about this ie don’t ask for a meeting the day before Christmas. This way you can prepare for your raise talk way ahead of time.

3. Dress the part

This is not a day to be casual but rather to be confident. What outfit makes you feel powerful and accomplished. Maybe it is a certain tie or a really sharp blouse. For the ladies, maybe you need to get a blowout that morning. Nicole Williams, the bestselling author of “Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success,” said the clothes you wear directly correlate to your confidence levels. “The better you feel, the more likely you are to feel confident and fearless,” Williams says. “Work everything, including your wardrobe, in your favor.”

If you want to use some psychological tricks you can try wearing green as it is associated with money and some other very positive things. Psychologist and author Carole Kanchier said of the color green that it “suggests security, abundance, love, growth, luck and balance.” She also noted, “Wear green when you want to see things from a different perspective, need to feel grounded, calm, generous. Don’t wear it when you’re confused, feel stagnant, want to be alone.” Looking at things from a different angle and feeling calmer can all be more beneficial in the workplace.

4. Pick the setting

You may recall on the wonderful show 30 Rock that the oddly brilliant Jack Donaghy had an actual negotiation set in his office, specifically for when employees wanted to talk about raises. The set included a chair that was purposefully lowered for the person asking for the raise to make them feel inferior to Donaghy. Hopefully, your boss wouldn’t do that but just being on their ground may intimidate you and throw you off more than you would like. Why not suggest a more neutral conference room? It evens everything out.

5. Use the data

Ellevest founder Sallie Krawcheck told Ladders recently, “You have to be working on this all year round. Don’t go in cold and ask for a raise. There is still plenty of time right now. You need to establish what success looks like. What do you value? What are our most important initiatives?” Krawcheck told Ladders. “What you don’t want to do all year is think you’re doing a great job but actually be working on something your boss doesn’t care much about. What are those metrics?”

Also look at what other people are making in your industry in equivalent roles. You can easily find this information using the Ladders salary search tool. 

6. Be careful of your body language

Body language can make or break a situation.

First of all, you need to walk in with the stride and posture of someone who is getting a raise today. That is the part you are playing.A study at the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging discovered that it takes the brain just 200 milliseconds to gather most of the information it needs from a facial expression to determine a person’s emotional state.

Also, try not to smile too much (it conveys nervousness), tilt your head (conveys submissiveness),  or use your hands too much (conveys confusion.)

And for women,  though your voices are already lower than they were 100 years ago, you may want to make sure you are speaking at your lowest register. Scientists have found that the lower the voice, the more authority it conveys. Researchers at Duke University looked at 792 U.S. chief executives at public companies and found that a drop of 22 Hz in voice frequency correlated with an increase of $187,000 in compensation.

7. Be careful of your spoken language as well

What you say during the meeting is also extremely important. There are certain key phrases you definitely should fit in:

“Based on my research…” This shows you have actually done your homework. 

“Value” Oh this one is a biggie. Labor & Employment Attorney Alex Granovsky of Granovsky & Sundaresh PLLC told Glassdoor, ““From an employer’s perspective, each employee has to either (1) increase revenue, or (2) increase margin (ideally both). While probably not as compelling as the job market, if you can show to your employer how you are bringing ‘value’ to the company (in the form of increased revenue and/or increased margin), you can make a compelling case for a raise.”

“When, I, feel, and need”

Though there is some opposition to using more emotional words like “feel” and “need”Dr. Michael McNulty, a master trainer from The Gottman Institute and founder of the Chicago Relationship Center, told Business Insider that by using “I” it avoids all blaming language. “This technique is so helpful in relationships of all kinds,” McNulty says. “It helps to guard against the tendency that people feel to justify their feelings and needs so much so that they come off as critical or blaming to the other person before they are able to express what they feel and ask for what they want.”

7. No isn’t the end of the conversation

If your boss says no to a salary bump that doesn’t mean the conversation is over.

“If you do not get the raise ask for 27 other things. I wouldn’t start with flexibility because that tends to send signals,” Krawcheck told Ladders. “They may ask, ‘Is she serious?’ But how about paying for this coding class? How about a marketing class? Could I have time off for this class? Can I work on this marketing project? Could you introduce me to so and so to be my mentor?

“Whatever those things are you want to do it with an eye of returning to money later. This will turn into money next month or next year.”

8. Be positive

Remind your boss or manager that you are excited about the future of this role and again remind them you are a valuable member of this team.  End on a high note.

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