Everyone wants a raise. Everyone thinks they deserve a raise. But no one wants to ask for a raise.
One can hardly blame people for being hesitant – asking for more money is no easy task. Essentially you’re asking your boss if he/she thinks you’re worth investing more money in, and no one wants to deal with feelings of rejection of worthlessness should the answer be no. But the fact remains, even some who deserve a raise don’t get it. And why is that? Because too many people don’t ask themselves if it’s the right time to ask for a raise.
Here are six signs it is a good time to ask for a raise.
1) Your Company's Good Financial Health
This should be obvious, but we’re going to say it anyway. Take a good, long look at the financial well-being of your company before you ask for a raise.
If things are good, revenue is up, and goals are being met across the board, then have at it. You stand a much better shot of getting what you want if everything else is falling into place. But, on the other hand, if the company is laying people off, losing money, and spiraling into ruin, asking for a raise is going to seem pretty tone deaf.
You might be able to get away with it if you’re truly a superstar high-performer, but tread carefully and gauge the atmosphere.
2) Other People Have Received Raises
People generally play this close to the vest, but it seems word always gets around when coworkers are receiving raises. So if you’ve confirmed that other employees are asking for and receiving raises, and you’re either at their level or do better work, then that can be a positive sign to ask for a raise of your own.
The only thing we’ll caution you on here is not to reference the raises of other employees in your request. A raise should be about you, your work, and your potential future value to the company that makes you a worthwhile investment. Going into your boss’ office and saying “Well Sally got a raise and I do twice the work she does” just sounds whiny.
3) It's Time for Your Performance Review
If at all possible, try to ask for your raise during performance review time.
Most companies plan out a schedule for performance reviews and subsequent raises. Try to coordinate your raise request with that schedule, because it’s easier for your boss to convince the top brass at the designated time for raises, as opposed to a request out of left field at some other point during the year.
Although, to be sure, there are times when it’s a good idea to ask out of turn. For instance…
4) The Company Just Had a Big Win
Again, it’s all about timing.
If your company had a huge win or, better yet, a string of big victories, then it might behoove you to strike while the iron is hot. And if you played an integral role in those wins, then all the better. You worked hard to benefit the company and it’s perfectly reasonable to use that goodwill in your favor.
5) You've Picked Up a New Skill or Degree
Did you take a training course or complete a degree program that sets you apart? Then that’s a good reason to take action.
Proving yourself invaluable and indispensable is perhaps the greatest way to earn that pay increase. The more you can set yourself apart the better. So if you have specialized training or skills that no one else has, or if you’re the only one in your department with an advanced degree, then you’re in a great position to ask for a raise.
Any time you can prove you’re a high-performer with specialized skills that make you stand out in the crowd, that’s a positive.
6) You Have Other Job Offers
Fear of losing valuable employees to other companies is a company’s biggest reason to approve raises.
So if you feel you’re underpaid and you’ve tested the waters and been offered a more lucrative position elsewhere, that’s a valuable card to play. But play it wisely. Don’t be boastful or pushy about it. Highlight your performance, let the numbers speak for themselves, and simply let them know you’ve been offered something for more money.
But you have to be prepared to leave, and you should never bluff. If you’re not prepared to walk or you’re lying, then you’ll create a toxic environment with management and getting a raise in the future will be near impossible.
Not quite ready to ask for a raise but interested in planning your career path? Here are some tools to help you along the way: