An office

Talking about money always feels taboo, making it extremely nerve-wracking for people to ask their bosses for a raise. According to a survey, only about 37% of employees have asked their boss to give them a raise. It’s time to start practicing your money talk and overcome years of conditioning that taught you never to discuss something like your salary. Unfortunately, this is a conversation you will need to have with your employers multiple times during your executive job.

We’re here to help you with the dreaded ‘ask’ by providing expert tips and things to avoid. Two of the most important things that you need to keep in mind are timing and preparation. Before you can even begin to create the perfect pitch to ask for the raise that you deserve, you need to have the right amount of knowledge to back your claims up and consider the environment and mood that you’re dealing with.

Here’s all you need to know to create an undeniable case for a pay raise:


An office meeting

Gather all the positive praise that you’ve gotten since your previous performance review

One of the best ways to keep track of your positive feedback is to set up a folder in your email account or computer to store different notes from your colleagues, boss, and clients, where they commend you for a good job. Think of this as your ultimate ‘smile file’—a place where you have organized examples of your excellent work.

It’s important to conduct consistent self-evaluations since you need regular reviews about your work alongside the usual formal reviews that you might get on an annual or bi-annual basis from your boss. A self-evaluation is informal and can help you keep track of your accomplishments in real time.

Another great way of staying aware of your own progress is to take some time out every week to review the quality of your work. It’s much better to remember the excellence of the work that you did in the past week than in the past three months.


A person using a tablet

Bring numbers and data

With the help of your self-evaluations, you’d be able to keep a good track record of your recent and past accomplishments and achievements. Think of this information as the ‘glue’ for your Ask since nothing can speak louder than facts and data. Some common questions that you can ask yourself in your self-evaluations can include:

  • How has your department or company benefited from your work? Don’t be afraid of being specific.
  • Did you or your team have a part in increasing sales by a certain percentage lately? Perhaps you brought in more clients, or the team that you oversee is much bigger than it used to be.
  • Did you take part in any major or important projects? What were those projects, who were your clients, and what role did you have in everything?
  • Over the previous week, month, or year, how often did you get positive feedback? What exactly did it say, and are there certain trends for your feedback?

The more specific you get with your answers, the better you’ll be able to demonstrate the value that you provide to your company. It’ll make things immensely easier if you’re showing instead of just telling your results and accomplishments.

Think about what you’re going to bring to the company and team in the next year

You want this raise because you know that you’ve demonstrated the ways that you’re ready to go above and beyond in your job, but your employers need to know that you’re here for the long haul. Think about the ways that you plan on growing within this company if you get a raise, and plan out the direction of your career.



Consider why your boss would even want to pay you more, as well as the time of the year

What is your boss getting out of this? If they give you a raise, can they ensure that this management position has been stabilized? Perhaps your raise might prevent you from leaving, reducing turnover time and long, dreaded application processes. Your promotion might even cause you to become more client-focused!

Unfortunately, saying that you want to get a raise because of your personal cost of living isn’t going to make the Ask successful. Your boss might even get a bad impression of you, decreasing the chances of a successful Ask in the future as well.

Place yourself in your boss’s position—what is their success like? What kind of priorities do they have? If you’re able to tie the reasons for your raise with something that benefits them as well, you’ll have a much higher chance of getting the raise you need.

A great way of learning about your boss and their goals is to set up a conversation about your career. Here, you’ll be able to learn about their goals for the future and figure out where you might fit into their plans. The conversation doesn’t have to focus on your salary, which is great for helping you stay more focused when the time comes.

One more thing you should consider when prepping for the conversation is the time of the year. Companies often have set periods when they review job titles, salary ranges, and promotions. This usually happens during annual reviews; however, it’s already too late if you wait until then. These conversations need to happen around 3-4 months before your company has scheduled the annual review.

There are many stakeholders involved in your pay raise, such as human resources, your boss, compensation analysts, and even recruiters. Compensation analysts need to review the market rate, salary data, cost of labor, and other factors before working together with the management to set new benchmarks for the salary and determine the value of your title. This method rings especially true for larger organizations, so it’s important to think ahead and plan for your Ask in advance. If you work in a company that doesn’t have a process for an annual review, you can talk to your boss or Human Resources directly.


Two office employees

Talk numbers

Now that you’re done setting the stepping stones to success, it’s time to come up with a realistic salary number. It’s probably the worst part of the process, but remember, this is why you’re here. Whenever you have a meeting regarding your pay raise, the management will ask you about the salary you want, and you need to be prepared with an answer. Ask around and talk to people with similar roles in competitor companies to see how much they’re making, and make sure you do thorough research to get some proper insight into the industry standards.

It’s understandably uncomfortable to ask people about money, but you need to aim for the right number in your Ask. Keep in mind that you’re probably going to lose around 10% of that number during the negotiation phase.

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