Asking for a raise or promotion is not an easy thing to do. Some feel that it’s best not to ask for a promotion, that instead it should come to you. Others have been promised a promotion or raise, but when they reach certain goals, their superiors set the bar even higher.
When a promotion is imminent and you feel that you’ve met the qualifications for the promotion, don’t let the fear of hearing the word “NO” inhibit you from communicating your desire for the job. Before talking to your boss about the promotion or raise, you should know the company’s policy about the time of year promotions and raises are given. Do they happen only at employee review time, or does your company have a different kind of policy? Knowing this will prevent the disappointment from being turned down because you asked at the wrong time. When asking for a promotion or raise, it is critical that you demonstrate (prove by detailing your accomplishments) that you have the ability and skills to handle the new position, and have documentation (proof) of your past successes readily available for discussion. Another word of caution: many people truly believe that they are DUE a promotion or a raise just because…well, because. Think very carefully about what you have done, accomplished and how you have contributed to the company/department, handled special projects etc. Be PREPARED to outline everything in a logical and UNEMOTIONAL manner. “Needing more money to pay your bills” is NEVER a good reason. Needing more money because “you PROMISED” is lame. In many cases you will forget that the “more money” had to do with YOUR performance or some other measurable variable, and you don’t (or the other measurable) add up yet.
Here’s an example of how you could handle asking for a raise or promotion:
Set up a meeting with your boss and ask to discuss your career strategy with him/her. On the day of the meeting you could say,“Thank you for taking the time to sit down with me to review my career strategy. I’ve prepared a brief document that shows what I’ve helped our team accomplish over the past 6 months. You’ll notice that we’ve increased revenue, have had greater customer satisfaction and have consistently met our deadlines. You’ll probably remember on Project A & B, I was able to successfully come up with several solutions to problem XYZ and this enabled us to land the account with Company X.” Follow that up with one of the two choices below, whichever is in accordance for what you are seeking, either a raise or a promotion.
For a Raise
I feel that I’ve added great value to the team as well as the company, and continue to do so by searching for ways to take on more responsibility. I will continue with my efforts to lead our team to many more great successes. With that in mind, I would like to ask for a raise in my salary.
For a Promotion
As I continue to lead our team to successful wins, I would really like the opportunity to be considered for the ______ position.
In either situation, you need to remember that it’s business. With confidence, stick to the facts and do not become emotional over personal reasons of why you are seeking a raise or promotion. At the end of the conversation, you’ll want to leave the door open for your boss to respond to your request. For example, you can say, “What do you think?” or “How do you feel about that?” After you’ve stated your accomplishments, tell your boss what you are asking for as noted above, either that raise or promotion.
If you’re asking for a raise, have a reasonable hourly figure or salary in mind. Be careful with this though (the figure). If you say, “Tom got a X$ raise,” you may have broached a confidentiality, or you may look like a selfish fool in stating a figure that is too high, or you will look like you don’t value your contributions if you ask too low. It may be best to actually say something along the lines of, “If you believe that my contributions are valued and timely, then I am sure you and the company can and will respond with a raise that will please me in proportion to how pleased you are with my accomplishments to you and the organization”.
When asking for a promotion, know the correct title and the responsibilities involved with the new position you are requesting. Allow your boss to respond. Again you can say, “What do you think?” or “How do you feel?” You may be pleasantly surprised by the results. On the other hand, you may find that you’re not quite ready for a promotion. If this is the case, instead of getting discouraged, use this as an opportunity to discuss career goals and improvement plans with your boss. Look within the company for a mentor and ask for suggestions on how you can reach your goal.
Never underestimate the power of the Human Resource department. Most companies have websites that allow their employees to view and apply for jobs online. Keep up to date with the positions and in house training that your company offers. When an opening arises, communicate your interest in the position before they search for someone outside to fill the position.
How Do I use This Information to Help Me?
Let’s face it. Talking and hearing are easy to do. Listening and communicating effectively is the hard part for some, but yet very rewarding as you work on furthering your career. It will take practice, hard work, patience and diligence to become an effective listener and communicator. However, it can be done. Practice makes perfect. If you follow these simple steps, you will communicate more effectively:
- Stand up for your rights but do not disregard the rights of others.
- Be honest and state your wishes directly while taking the other person’s needs into account.
- Speak firmly, yet with a relaxed posture so that the other person will feel at ease.
- Instead of using “You” and “I think” statements, use “I feel” statements.
- Share your opinions and be willing to accept the opinions and suggestions of others.
- Use active listening. This means more than just hearing the other person. You will take an interest in what they say, ask appropriate questions and give them time to respond. We show that we value what the other person has to say by listening.
- Don’t let the fear of the word “no” inhibit you from asking for a raise or promotion. Remember if you do ask for one, have the proof to substantiate your request.
Communicating effectively will help you not only at work but in your everyday life. If you can overcome communication roadblocks and barriers, you’ll find that you’ll reach your goals, reduce frustration and be more productive in all aspects of your life.