A lot of women ask me, "What’s the best way to go about asking for a raise?"
It’s been my experience that individuals who politely and professionally discuss their salaries when they feel there is a discrepancy are far more likely to get a raise or higher future pay increases than those who say nothing and hope things will improve on their own over time.
Before you broach the subject of a raise, it’s important to understand a few things so you don’t end up with “egg on your face,” as the old saying goes. Here are my five rules I always follow:
1.) Find out how your company appraises performance. If you don’t already know how your company’s performance appraisal process works, ask your manager or HR representative to explain it to you. Is it once a year? A written process, or informal feedback sessions each quarter? Find out how pay raises are determined and when they’re given. Ask if they come shortly after an appraisal or can be given at any time. Can bonuses be given if you go above and beyond the call of duty for a special project or for certain types of work during the year? Just asking indicates you intend to perform well for your company, and that you expect compensation.
2.) Understand how your manager views your work. Get your manager to “lay their cards on the table” so you know exactly where you stand. Ask and find out what he or she sees as your strengths and weaknesses and discuss where you could improve.
3.) Determine how much your current salary “weighs.” Call up your HR representative and make an appointment to discuss pay scales. Find out where your pay fits compared to similar positions within your company. Is there any external pay benchmarking information they can offer for comparison purposes? You can do your own research using the terrific (and free!) salary benchmarking tool on Monster. Given your education, training, skills, and experience: does your salary match, fall low, or surpass that of similar positions?
4.) Map out your career development plan. Do you have a game plan in place? If not, it’s time to create one. Gain a clear understanding of what it is you will need to accomplish in order to advance within the company to higher pay scale levels. Don’t know how? Check out my book Your Career, Your Way! where I take you through a process to help you determine what’s needed. Once you have your plan in place, let HR and your manager know you’re truly dedicated to advancing your career and serious about your career development plan. They may be able to help identify training or educational opportunities as well as pay increases.