Asking for a raise is daunting, given that there are ten people who would be prepared to do your job for less. However, good employees need to be compensated for the value they add to their company, and there are ways to talk to your boss about this without rocking the boat.
The following 3 points sum up what you should do before initiating the process of asking for a raise.
- Do your homework.
Check out how your company is doing financially. If it is losing money, then no matter what the industry average says, you cannot count on your boss listening to your request for a raise.
- Collect your evidence.
It is imperative that you know how much your peers are paid. With respect to jobs in Belgium, the industry is expecting a rise in salaries, primarily in the IT and engineering sectors, of around 3%. This can be attributed to inflation, which is at 1.7% according to data shared by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union.
The industry you work in is also a key factor. Jobs in IT and business consulting attract some of the highest salaries in Belgium, while people in support services can expect to receive much lower rates. Here is a list of the best paying sectors in Belgium.
- Prove your point.
You need to convince your boss that you are more profitable to the company than your colleagues. You can do this by quantifying your contribution as much as possible. Potential pointers you could highlight include:
- What value you add to the organisation
- What would happen if you left the organisation
- How difficult it would be to replace you.
Questions to ask yourself
But before you embark on the salary discussion, consider whether you really deserve one in the first place by answering the following questions:
- If you were your boss, would you give yourself a raise?
- Do you have proof that you deserve a raise? Can you quantify your achievements?
- Is it the right time to ask for a raise? Is the company doing well?
- Are you irreplaceable? How hard would it be for the company to replace you?
If your answer to all the above questions is YES, you do deserve a raise. It’s time to prepare to convince your boss to increase your salary. This eight step guide will set you in the right direction to get that raise you are after.
Prepare for the big talk
Step 1: Know your company’s financial condition.
Research your company’s financial position before you take the plunge. Find out how it is performing. Will it be meeting its financial goals for the year? If so, you’re good to go. But if the company is cutting down on staff and office space to save money, chances are that your request will be rejected. You will also look pretty out of tune with what’s going on in the overall business picture, so consider waiting until your company has ridden the tide and found its feet again.
Step 2: Get your facts together.
Justify the reason you’re asking for a raise by providing specific examples of tasks that you have accomplished.
- Use specific recent achievements to highlight your success rate.
- Quantify your value using figures e.g. orders received, costs reduced etc.
- Respond to queries tactfully and logically. Leave any emotional baggage outside before you enter the room.
Step 3: Research your job salary.
Know your worth in the market before you offer any figures. There are numerous sites like Glassdoor.com, Payscale.com etc. where you can view the salary received by your peers in your field. Reinforce the idea that a pay rise will help you to get closer to the industry average.
Step 4: Put together a raise document.
Create a compelling case in the form of a proposal or email. The raise proposal should contain:
- Specifics of your current position: job title, salary, duration in your current position.
- Your achievements, including any changes to your job responsibilities.
- How your salary compares against the market rate and mention how the raise amount will bring your earnings to match the market rate.
- How the current role has helped your career to grow, and what you intend to contribute in future.
Step 5: Make an appointment.
Where pay raise negotiations are concerned, most managers would prefer a formal discussion. Get your manager to set aside at least 45 minutes to discuss the raise. Make a prior appointment and inform them beforehand of what you intend to discuss.
If your manager is not prepared to discuss this without HR intervention, it would help to check that they would be happy to go ahead once the necessary formalities are in place.
Step 6: Practise your pitch.
Rehearse your pitch by conducting a mock interview with a family member or friend beforehand or by practising in front of a mirror. Talking to someone will help you to get a different perspective and be ready for different scenarios and questions that your boss might put to you.
Step 7: What to say in the meeting.
Make your boss understand that this is really important for you. Dress formally and act confident even if you are not. Having your arguments written down makes you look prepared to face the daunting task of negotiation. Leave your emotions aside when discussing why the raise is important to you and focus on the hard facts: how you have performed and how your numbers add up to the market rate.
State your figures upfront and highlight the value that you add to the company. Also emphasise what you plan to contribute to the company going forward.
Keep your tone conversational and not confrontational.
Step 8: Be prepared to wait for confirmation.
Your boss may not have the authority to sanction your raise outright. They might need to talk to senior management to get the necessary approval.
Be prepared to follow this up. This is also where your written document will come in handy, as your boss can utilise it to present your case to their superiors and HR.
If your manager agrees to take your request forward, thank them and conclude the meeting. Remember to send them a thank you email summarising the points discussed.
The following points need to be particularly noted where a pay raise discussion is concerned:
- Be confident and keep your tone enthusiastic while meeting your boss to discuss your salary. Worrying, being confrontational and arguing will rarely bring a positive outcome.
- Keep your points to hand to refer to. Create a pay raise proposal for your employer.
- If your boss turns down your request for a pay rise, ask them what is required to obtain your desired salary. Do not leave the room until you have both come to an agreement about some objectives which will allow you to increase your salary in the near future.
- If your request for a raise is rejected, you could try to convince your boss to provide additional perks like working from home, flexible hours or additional holiday. You may also check if the company would be open to introduce a cafeteria plan, which could better suit your needs.