How can you push your boss to give you more responsibility and/or more money instead of just keeping the status quo?
This week’s question comes from Dan:
What are the best ways to use midyear evaluations to ask for more money? The goals I had set are either being met/have been met. How do I take that feedback to shift the conversation towards more compensation/possible promotion rather than just hearing “keep up the good work” without any talk of future goals?
This is what individual experts have to say generally about an issue that affects each person differently — if you want personalised advice you should see a financial planner.
Timing Is Everything
When it comes to asking for a raise or title change, you want to let your boss know your intentions well before your review, when the actual decisions are made. Alexa von Tobel, LearnVest Founder and CEO, certified financial planner, says the key is asking for what you want at least three to four months in advance.
“Typically, your company will allocate a certain amount of money for raises, which your boss must divvy up among his or her employees,” says von Tobel. “It’s important to present your case for getting a bigger slice of the pie long before that decision has been made.”
That means staying on your boss’s radar throughout the year, and paying attention to your manager’s personality so you know how to best approach him or her with your ask.
For example, if your boss in a no-nonsense type, schedule a meeting that clearly states what you want to accomplish. “Send a meeting invite or an email saying something like: ‘I’m hoping we can sit down, and I’d like to make the case to you for revisiting my salary,’” suggests von Tobel, or other goals that you’d like to discuss.
On the other hand, “other managers might prefer a more nuanced approach, where you broach the salary question in the context of another conversation, like a weekly status meeting.”
When you do ask, be straightforward about what you want and why you deserve a raise. You’ll need to be prepared with examples of your good work — for example, praise you’ve received from your boss and other managers, projects you’ve worked on that were successful or a boon to the company, extra work you’ve taken out outside your job description — to prove that your value and skill has increased since you discussed your salary with your boss.
Do research on what an appropriate salary is in your field ahead of time (or ask your coworkers).
“Negotiating for your what you are worth comes down to having the data to back up your case,” says Bridget Venus Grimes, a financial advisor and author of the new book, Corner Office Choices: The Executive Woman’s Guide to Financial Freedom. “Be able to detail out your performance, how the organisation benefited from your work, and the compensation you want based on the value you provided the organisation.”
You want to make it clear to your boss that a raise for you isn’t depleting the company, it’s actually an investment in making the company better. You’re generating value for them. Writes Sally Thornton at Ellevest:
Even if your role doesn’t have a clear revenue impact, identify the mutual win. It exists or you wouldn’t be excited about your job, but it might need clarifying. We all want to feel like a valued member on a winning team with an inspired mission. So translate as much of your work as possible into explicit value: Revenue gain, risk avoidance, cost reduction.
Any time you feel yourself or your potential manager slipping into a defensive mindset, say something in the negotiation about how exciting it will be to collaborate and make a greater impact on the company together, so you’re both staying in the “what’s-possible-together” mindset.
And if a raise is 100 per cent off the table, then you can ask for greater responsibility at work — or a timetable for a full-time offer.
“You can ask for compensation in the form of a package, rather than just salary,” says Grimes. “So, perhaps a portion is salary increase, but your firm might offer other benefits that would be important to you like stock options, vacation, deferred comp.” Know what benefits your employer can offer you as a backup.
Remember: While you have to prove your worth to your boss, they need to prove to you that they have your best intentions at heart. Stringing you along with promises of a raise or more responsibility for months or years at a time and then not following through is a breach of trust, and you should start looking for another job in that case.
If you keep trying to bring up your goals and your manager keeps brushing them off, that might indicate a toxic working environment that isn’t going to get any better, as long as the current managers stay in places. You deserve better than that.