According to a 2019 report from The Harris Poll, which surveyed nearly 1,000 Americans, 42% of workers said their top career resolution for 2020 is getting a raise. But advocating for yourself and asking for what you deserve can be daunting.
Having started my career as a sales manager to becoming the CEO of a 200-employee company, I've been on both sides of the negotiation table. As a leader, my goal is to make sure everyone feels valued and encouraged to go after what they want. But there are smart strategies to approach getting a raise, and few people stop to think things through.
Here are four things employees should keep in mind before asking for more money:
Timing is everything. Asking during the standard performance review cycle is ideal. By then, the company has pored over its budget and figured out what funds it has to reallocate.
There are, however, some exceptions. Maybe someone on your team just left, and you've taken on more responsibility. Or maybe you were being paid under the market rate at a small startup, and they've just raised a significant round of funding.
At these times, it makes sense to approach your manager about bumping up your pay.
Sure, we'd all like to be making $1 million a year, but your negotiation will be more successful if you clearly understand the market and company norms for your role.
If you've been with your company for a while, consider past raises you've received. If you've never gotten more than a 5% raise, asking for a 10% bump isn't going to work unless something significant has changed within the organization or your role.
At my company, we have clear salary bands for specific positions that we communicate early on in the interview process. So it's frustrating when a candidate comes back at the end and tries to ask for way more than what we normally give. It rarely leads to a successful deal.
Confidence is your best tool, but you want to avoid coming off as egotistical. When people believe in themselves and back it up with their actions, I'm more excited to meet their raise request so I can keep them happy and motivated.
Make sure you come to the table with proof of the value that you bring to the company. What are the results you've helped produce, the problems you've helped solve, and the revenue-boosting ideas you've contributed?
For me, it isn't just about qualitative results. It's vital that you are an upbeat player in our company culture. Are you an influential member of the team? Would others vouch for your work ethic or attitude? If you have glowing reviews or notes from your peers or managers, print them out and present them at your salary negotiation.
The worst way you can approach a negotiation is with a "me versus them" mentality. When you come in defensive and digging in your heels, you don't give the company a lot of wiggle room.
If there's one aspect of your ask that doesn't work for them, you're more likely to get a flat-out no. But if you're open to discussion, it's easier to work together to find a solution.
Keeping an open mind might mean getting creative in what you're willing to negotiate. For example, if I can't meet a salary ask, I'll offer other incentives in return. When you show a willingness to meet people halfway, they're more likely to want to work with you to find a compromise that makes both parties happy.
Kara Goldin is the founder and CEO of Hint, a healthy lifestyle brand, and host of the podcast "Unstoppable With Kara Goldin," where she interviews inspiring entrepreneurs. Follow her on Twitter @karagoldin.
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