You are looking at your bank statement, and you realize that you’ve been getting the same salary for a long time.  You know that you’ve added a lot of value to your company or organization, and you feel you’re entitled to a raise.  Last week, your mechanic told you that your car needs a major repair job, and you need the money for this additional expense.

How do you request a raise in a way that is most likely to succeed?  How do you request a raise in a confident manner?

Research Your Worth to Your Employer

The first thing to do, starting days or weeks before you request a raise, is to research your company.  Assess what your worth is to your company.  Look at the profit you made for your company or the decrease of a loss to your company.  

Look at your department and calculate your present productivity against that of a predecessor, if possible.  How much would it cost your company to employ a private service to produce what you do?  If you work in customer service, has there been increased satisfaction?  If you improve product performance, what percentage improvement have you been responsible for?  

Compare Your Worth with Your Competition

Research online what your market value is or what you would be worth to the competition.  If you’re not earning what you would in comparable companies or organizations, this will give you leverage in negotiating a raise.  

Arrange a Meeting with Your Boss

Talk to your boss about scheduling a date and time to discuss your raise. Don’t say you’re going to request a raise; rather, say that you have something important to talk about and you’d like to set up a meeting to discuss it.

Make sure you have your boss’s total attention during the meeting. If your boss takes calls during the meeting or acts as though you need to rush through what you have to say, ask to reschedule to a time when you can have his uninterrupted attention.

Don’t Beg, Demand or Threaten to Quit

Don’t beg your boss for a raise because you need mechanical work done on your car. Also, don’t demand a raise or threaten to quit.  You may get a small raise, but in the end, either of these may backfire because your boss may begin to have hard feelings against you.

First State the Facts

In your meeting, assertively but politely state your case for a raise by detailing the facts you researched about the your job, your company and your industry before the meeting.  Tell your boss what you have accomplished and any recognition you have received for your accomplishments.  Point out what people in comparable jobs earn in your industry.

State What You Want

Specify an amount you would like to receive. Be reasonable but not conservative. Then raise it by at least 50% so you have some room to negotiate.  Don’t say, “I know this seems like a lot of money, but I think I’m worth it.”

Don’t be timid or doubtful.  Be calm and firm.  Just look your boss in the eye and say, “I’m looking for another $2,000 a month.”

Negotiate Your Raise

If your boss consents to a raise but offers a smaller amount than what you requested, counteroffer with an amount higher than in the middle.  Continue to negotiate until both you and your boss feel it’s a suitable amount.

If Your Boss Says No

Your boss may try to dissuade you from believing you will get a raise.  One response is to complain about all the problems the company or organization is having and how it’s not possible to squeeze out another dime because of it. 

Your comeback could be that you understand the company is having problems but that you have personal financial responsibilities too.  Say it’s not fair to penalize you for the company’s problems, that you give the company your best effort and expect to be fairly compensated.  If your boss continues along this line, suggest that you receive a profit-sharing and bonus plan for any increased profit or savings you generate from this time forward.

Your boss may use the company’s policies to bar you from getting a raise.  For example, one policy may be that an employee must work for a certain amount of time before getting a raise and you have yet to reach that timeframe.  Work with your boss to find ways around the policy or consider reasons why you should be an exception to the rule.

Don’t Accept a Symbolic Raise

If your boss offers a small token raise or perks such as the use of the company car or a corner office with windows, don’t accept it.  Any of these will start a pattern where you are willing to accept almost nothing instead of the larger raise you want.  Rather, tell your boss that it is insufficient and reiterate the amount you are looking for.  If perks are offered, use them to reinforce your claim that you deserve a raise by explaining that if the company values you enough to offer you perks, it ought to value you enough to give you a decent raise

Take a Promotion

One of the best ways to get a raise is to get a promotion. You can do this in three different ways. You can move up in the organization to the next level, for example, from employee to department head or from department head to upper management.

Secondly, you can enlarge your job and take on more responsibility.  You may need to eliminate lower function work to do this. 

And third, you can create a new job for yourself with a new title.  If this is an option you believe will work, write out a job description before you go into the meeting.  Let’s say you see a need for something in your company, and you believe you can provide the experience and expertise to create a position to fill this need.  In the job description, detail what is lacking and provide a plan for solving the problem.  Include such things as what your job would entail, time frames for accomplishing assignments, costs, and what you estimate the profits would be. 

Talk with your boss about supporting you, then go up the chain of command to have your plan approved. 

Do Not Take a Promotion Without a Title or Raise

If your boss offers a promotion without a new title or a raise, turn it down immediately.  You may very well be expected to do further responsibilities in addition to the work you’re already doing.  This is not acceptable.  Tell your boss that a promotion is really not a promotion without a raise, that you would be taking more work without compensation.   If you’re offered a new position, make sure it’s with responsibilities that you accept and with a raise that is appropriate to your new status.  

If you are offered a significant raise, you can wait for a time before your title is changed.  If too much time passes, tell your boss that you have been taking on the responsibilities of your new position for some period of time and that you believe it’s time to make your promotion official by having your title upgraded.

If your boss wants you to do the work of your new position as well as your old one and you agree with this, make sure the title of your new position includes the upper-level work but not the lower-level work. 

Author's Bio: 

Vivian Harte is the co-author of Self-Esteem for Dummies in the Dummies series. She has helped over 12,000 people learn and use assertiveness skills during the last 14 years. She teaches online classes on assertiveness, self-confidence, and teamwork. She has a Bachelors degree in Sociology and a Masters degree in Public Administration. She taught college classes for many years in Tucson, Arizona. She has two grown children who are both successful. She lives in Tucson with her husband, three dogs and two cats.

She offers three online courses and 1-on-1 coaching, and you can find out more about these at her website, self-esteem-for-me.com. Are you having difficulty in your workplace? If so, check out Vivian's online course to learn how to increase your self-confidence at work and do a better job: How to Be Successful at Work.