Even among the most ambitious individuals, asking your employer for a salary increase can be a daunting prospect! It’s not often we have to prove our worth to the business outside of our everyday role, and the conversation around negotiating a pay rise may seem difficult to instigate. These 5 top tips will help you negotiate like a pro by conveying the value you bring to the business and approaching the discussion with confidence and clarity.
Do your research
Before you raise the subject with your employer, make sure you’ve done your due diligence. Look at job boards and salary benchmarking tools to get an idea of what the market rate is for your role and summarise your findings by creating some collateral to bring to the discussion. If your role title’s quite niche, look for positions with similar responsibilities to yours and give reasoning in your summary.
Recruiter top tip: “If during your research you realise that you’re at the top of the salary band for your role, all is not lost! Experience is also an important consideration – someone who has held a role for three years is likely to be able to add much more value than someone who’s just moved up to that level. We continually review benchmarking for all roles here at La Fosse so that our People department are always aware of market rates and can help employees out when needed.”
Know your value
The second piece of preparation you’ll need to do is around your personal achievements and capability. You’re essentially presenting a business case to your employer, and this is your chance to be persuasive, outlining all the ways you’ve added value and why you deserve this pay rise. A few great questions to ask yourself are:
- What have I achieved in my role?
- What have I done that’s above my role’s responsibilities?
- How have I added value to the business? (If you can, come prepared with figures – perhaps you streamlined a process to save time, or introduced a new method of bringing in money to the business.)
- What does the company stand to lose if they lose me? (This doesn’t need to be framed as a threat! It’s about a way of showing off your individual skillset and how you are a valuable employee of the business.)
Recruiter top tip: “Whether you’re ready to ask for a pay rise or not, it’s always useful to keep an ongoing log of your achievements and accomplishments, especially when you’ve gone above and beyond your role or helped the business make or save more money through your actions.”
If you’ve followed this guide, by the time you tell your manager that you’d like to discuss a salary increase, you’re already halfway there! Now it’s time to gather your research and book a meeting with your manager. We recommend sending an email or having a conversation in person beforehand so they’re not caught off guard and have time to adequately prepare themselves – if you like, you could attach your research/business case so they can familiarise themselves with it in advance.
Recruiter top tip: “You can be as prepared as you want, but sometimes it’s still difficult to approach the topic in person. It’s always a great idea to practice with someone you trust, whether that’s a colleague, friend, family member, or even a recruiter you’ve worked with in the past. Our consultants are always more than happy to help out candidates even if they’re not thinking of leaving their current role – it’s not an easy task to ask for a pay rise, but we’ve got a lot of experience advising people at all levels and can help you prepare!”
At the end of the day, as much as you believe you deserve a pay rise, this is a business decision and will likely be focused on the tangible impact you have on the company’s bottom line. Make sure you’re respectful of your employer’s position and try to put yourself in their shoes. Equally, it pays to be flexible – maybe you can’t get a salary increase straight away, but you can always negotiate for other benefits such as a one-off bonus or extra holiday days!
Recruiter top tip: “Never start an interview with ‘I want more money’! When negotiating, it pays to be precise and aim high – if you ask for a 7.5% raise when you’re only expecting 5%, not only does it give you some wiggle room to negotiate, it also shows your boss that you’ve done your research and know exactly what level of pay increase you’re looking for in line with market rates.”
You did it! Regardless of the outcome, we recommend following up with an email to your manager, thanking them for their time and outlining what was discussed and what actions are yet to come.
It’s unlikely your request will be accepted in the meeting, but if it is, congratulations! This isn’t easy and your prep beforehand has helped you move your career forward by demonstrating your value.
If you’re waiting on a response, make sure you set a date to follow up.
If your pay rise request was rejected, try not to be too disheartened. Ask your manager what actionable changes or additional responsibilities you can work on to get to a better position, and schedule in time in a few months to review the request again.
Recruiter top tip: “If the answer wasn’t what you were expecting, try not to take it personally. Remember, this is purely a business decision, so you should continue to be professional and respectful, and start planning how you can achieve what you need to reach that next level. At La Fosse, everyone has quarterly Personal Development Plan meetings with their manager to help them keep track of their personal wins and what they need to achieve to get to the next stage in their career journey.”
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