10 tips to prepare you for wage negotiation with your employer.
Everyone dreads the time of year when employee performance reviews roll around — not so much because of the promise of a pay increase from our employers, but because of the inevitable negotiation process that goes with pitching a pay raise to our employers. And worse; if things turn ugly, you might fear calling in a lawyer.
Having a discussion that involves money is never without palm sweating and nail biting. However, if you enter the process prepared you might actually come out feeling like you’re pay raise directly reflects your worth to your employer as well as the larger company.
The following ten tips will help you negotiate a fair pay raise with your manager:
1. Do your research prior
And prepare a document with current statistics on wages for those in your same industry and location with similar job responsibilities, education, accomplishments, and skill level. You can also show your employer what their direct competition is paying those in the same role.
2. Request a meeting with your employer
Or be prepared to bring up the subject during your scheduled performance review. You shouldn’t bring up the issue of wages during a meeting that’s unrelated to your job performance.
3. Don’t beat around the bush
Get down to the business of asking for a raise right away. Be sure to relate your request for a raise directly back to your contributions to the company. For instance, say something like: “I think we can both agree that our sales numbers have been up this year?” and relate that success back to your own involvement and accomplishments and how they’ve demonstrated your value to the company as a whole.
4. Show the proof
You can request official documentation — for instance, letters or e-mails of recognition and recommendation from colleagues, customers, and other supervisors – to showcase your value added.
5. Stay professional above all
Don’t explain your need for a raise to do things like cover your bills or buy a new house or car. Your employer cares little about that. Instead, ask for a raise in terms of how it will help the company — i.e., a higher salary means you will devote more energy to your work, take courses to upgrade your skills, etc.
6. Don’t get stuck on an exact figure
All companies and positions have a range that they pay comfortably within, so be aware of that maximum number at your company, as well as at their direct competitor and aim for a higher salary range instead of an exact number. This shows your boss you are willing to work with them instead of against them to make everyone happy.
7. Silence is your friend
If your boss sits there silent for a moment, you might take this as a sign of anger, but don’t think of it that way. Instead, give your manager the opportunity to remain silent for a few moments while they digest the information you’re providing.
For example, the new software you implemented that helped save the company 35% in cost savings last year or the big new client that you helped bring in to increase profits by 25%.
9. Don’t agree to the very first number
The tendency to settle for an increase of any kind can sometimes be overwhelming, but the negotiation process includes several offers and counter offers until you agree on a number that is satisfactory to both. Don’t be afraid to haggle.
10. Leave things on an optimistic note
If you have been successful in your salary negotiations, end with the focus on the value this will also bring to the company (i.e., maybe you’ll agree to take on more responsibility). However, if you’re not successful or your boss tells you they can’t afford raises at this time, ask for a date when you can discuss the issue again — next quarter, in 6 months, etc.
About the Author
Leslie Krick is a staff writer for attorneys Bachus & Schanker on topics relating to employment, labor and state law. She is also an active member in her community as well as a member of Amnesty International.