February 24, 2017
Earning more is the biggest 'lever' you can pull to really make a difference to your money. So why are people reluctant to ask their employers for a payrise?
In order to answer this question, we spoke to Matthew Davies, Director and Senior Coach at Power the Change, a leading business coaching consultancy. Here are his top tips for getting a pay rise - and ensuring that you stay confident and clear throughout the process.
"Don’t be scared of asking for more money. Nobody likes confrontation, but remember, conflict is inevitable. Combat is optional. People think that one manifests the other, and that’s just not true. Emotions can arise if this subject has been suppressed before, so get it on the agenda and out in the open. I promise that it won’t be as bad as you first imagined."
"The best time to negotiate your pay is at the start of any employment. You should also agree how your salary will be reviewed, and make sure your employer sends you that in writing. I’ve heard too many stories about people being promised pay rises to no avail."
"Do your homework. Put yourself in your employer’s shoes and ask yourself ‘Would I give myself a pay rise?’. Write down your reasons why you think you deserve one. Leave emotions out of it and stick to the facts. Use an objective standard, such as how much other companies are paying for similar roles. Try not to get your feelings entangled in the facts. It’s far more convincing to build a business case like lack of benefits, increased travel expense and cost of living."
"Keep quiet. Nothing is guaranteed, so don't start telling people you're in line for a raise, or that you think it's in the bag. If it gets back to your boss, they'll think you've been cocky, and you'll severely diminish your chances of impressing them."
"Stay away from the pub. I’d suggest discussing anything financial be done discreetly and formally. Bosses don’t like surprises, so give them notice of your intent (that can be done informally), but any real discussions shouldn’t be in the pub. If you want to be taken seriously then keep alcohol out of the equation."
"Keep things clear once you have your answer. So - your boss has said yes to a rise. That’s great. Now, it’s up to you to decide definitive time lines, nail down the specifics and agree the ‘what’ and ‘how’ so you both have clear expectations. Once again, get written proof by asking your boss to send an email with all the details in it. Don’t just assume you’ll get the extra cash in your next pay cheque; seek clarity in all agreements so you can have clear expectations."
"Be patient if things get delayed. It’s not going to be easy to hold your tongue, but try to take a principled approach. Gently remind your boss of the agreement. As I stated before, most bosses will backpedal if you haven’t got something on paper. Set up a face-to-face meeting and take along the paperwork, and always be polite."
"Meet face-to-face. The best book about negotiation is called ‘Getting to Yes’. The authors show that you’re three times more likely to get a mutually agreed settlement if you meet face-to-face compared to writing. So don’t play email tennis."
"Be prepared to make some big decisions. There’s always the chance that your boss might say no, or ‘not at the moment’ – and that’s alright. That’s their prerogative. I was brought up to expect two responses to a question. That’s ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Ask for the reasoning behind the decision, and ask what you need to do to be in line for a pay rise. Then the choice is yours. Come up to the grade or move on."
"Relax. Don’t worry about looking aggressive or demanding. Be honest. Share with your boss the real reasons for wanting a pay increase. Tell them it’s a tricky subject for you but you want to bring this to their attention. Most people just want a fair wage for a fair day’s work. So seek fairness rather than favour, and be true to yourself."
Right - so, just to recap! Getting a payrise isn't a simple 5-minute meeting. It's something you'll have to plan carefully, time sensibly, and be prepared to work towards in order to hit your goals. However, it's the best way of getting what you want and proving your worth to your colleagues at the same time. It's time to shine; show your boss what you're really made of!