You work hard, and you know you make a huge contribution to the company. But how do you muster the courage to go up to your boss and say, ‘I’ve done a fantastic job and I think I deserve a raise!’ It seems like a cheeky thing to do, especially since the recession makes us feel that we’re lucky to even have a job. But the good news is that companies, knowing that they’re working with smaller and leaner teams, may be willing to pay the star performers a bigger salary (which still comes out cheaper than hiring two idiots). Here’s how to make your boss see things this way—and give you the paycheck you deserve.
Know the industry rates
Find out exactly how much people in your position and industry really earn. You can visit websites like salary.com or payscale.com to find out your market value, in terms of the level of experience you have, the skills you possess, and what other companies may be willing to pay you if you jumped ship. Another to gather this data is to ask trusted colleagues who work in other companies.
Work with your company structure
Most companies have an annual performance review and budget review. This will give you an idea of the best time to bring up the question of a raise. For example, your boss may not be able to even consider your request if the budgets are already locked in, but talk to him just before his yearly huddle with Finance, and you have a bigger chance.
You also have to think about your company’s overall financial position. Has it been earning? Is your department meeting quotas and targets? It’s best to talk to your boss when company income is doing well, or at least on a rise.
Build your case
Document your tasks, and any concrete proof of how much you do and how well you do it. An d when you talk to your boss, use numbers. How much does your work contribute to company performance and revenue? Have you found ways to reduce costs, bring in new clients, cut timelines and meet deadlines in a more efficient way? And of all the projects you’ve done, which ones made a big impact on the company? For example, ‘The client was so happy with X project that he gave us two other accounts.’ Present these specific accomplishments
Talk to your boss
Schedule a meeting with your boss—don’t just barge in or bring it up while you’re talking about other things. You want his undivided attention. Also give time for him to meet with Human Resources, Finance, etc.
If your boss says no, then remain proactive: ask what you can do in order to get a raise, such as goals you can pursue to improve your performance, or any responsibilities you can take. If he says he believes in your work but there’s no budget, you can ask for a timeline of when you may be able to bring it up again.