It’s a conversation all of us will have sooner or later.
You’ve been working your socks off, getting terrific results and putting real money on the bottom line.
But you haven’t had a pay rise for years and reckon it’s about time the boss dug into his pockets for you.
Yet negotiating a pay rise can be nerve-wracking. Deciding when to approach your boss, how much to ask for and what to say all needs careful thought.
So, where to start?
Well, if you believe you deserve a pay rise, don’t be afraid to raise the issue – particularly if you haven’t had one for more than a year.
Begin with some thorough research. This should be a three to six-month process during which you make sure you have all the facts and figures you need at your fingertips.
Talk to other people in similar positions (perhaps at other companies) and speak to recruiters and headhunters, who will have a very clear picture of the going rate for your role.
Do your due diligence on the entire company's fortunes. Structural changes like expansion, redundancies or new management can all influence the success of your request, so factor them in to the timing of your conversation.
Build a strong case - outlining what you've contributed to the organisation, presenting tangible achievements and recent successes - and have a concrete figure in mind. Don't just vaguely ask for a 'pay rise' but put an actual number on the table.
When you’ve done your research, organise a proper meeting with your boss and let them know what you want to talk about. You’re far less likely to be successful if the boss thinks they have been ambushed.
Before the big day, practise, practise and practise! Get someone who knows what they are doing to role play and give you feedback.
If you have to, rehearse in the mirror. Don't try to be word perfect because it will just make you nervous but it’s important to hear the actual words out loud or you might baulk at saying them when the time comes.
Once you're in the meeting, saying you'd like to talk about your compensation package in light of your contributions to the company (or something along those lines) is a good way of kicking things off.
Frame the situation in your head as a conversation between two people with common interests and start by building a good rapport with your boss. Be honest about what you love about the company and try to showcase your skills, abilities and achievements.
Build a case for the increase. Demonstrate positively how much more you are doing, where you have stepped up and learned new skills and where you have gone above and beyond. Do not assume that your efforts are always visible to your boss.
It’s important to try to keep your language positive, future-focused, high-performing, emotionally intelligent and company-orientated. This is more about work than it is about you. And make sure you avoid threats or ultimatums. They are high-risk and often unsuccessful.
Don’t forget to breathe and relax. Don't worry about things like whether you will blush. If you do, just tell them you're excited/nervous because this is so important to you.
Finally, remember it’s only another human being you’re talking to. Put the whole conversation in context and remember you are only asking for more money because you are so good at what you do.
Good luck. You’re worth it.