I had been working as an office assistant for three years, and I absolutely enjoyed it. But as we all know, the pay as an office assistant is not particularly high. As in, I was living off less than £9.50 an hour in Central London!
I was living paycheque to paycheque and praying an event did not occur that I will need an emergency fund for…because it was practically non-existent.
I have a bachelor’s degree and over £35,000 in student loans alone. On top of that, I was also in the process of getting my HR Qualifications, adding even more debt to the pot. I was struggling financially.
That was until I decided to pluck the courage and start asking my managers for a raise.
Let me tell you a few things I have learned along the way!
5 Steps For Getting A Raise
Here are five steps that I have taken when I have asked for a raise and received it:
This is the biggest and most important step. Be prepared by planning at least 6 months ahead. Have a goal set and learn where you stand within the company. How are you valued? What can you improve on? Make sure you deserve the raise you are asking for. Just asking for a raise because you want more money is not good enough.
Whilst preparing, be sure to make a list of reasons you do to deserve a raise. This can look something like this:
- I am an employee who never calls off, who is on time, and who gets their work completed by the due dates.
- I help others to overcome their struggles and succeed in the workplace.
- I am also a part of the moral building team that the company nationally offers.
- I have taken 2 separate courses to become a leader and move up within the company (this is what I am currently doing!)
Do not only focus on how amazing you are, though – you need to throw a few “negatives” into the mix. So, you should also make a list of areas to improve. This could look like this:
- I know I need to speak up more in team meetings.
- I am always ready to rush out the door, and I do not work overtime.
- I need to take more initiative when I have quieter periods.
- I can put more effort into the weekly newsletter.
Making a list of your negative attributes can be hard. Most people like to think the best of themselves, but there has to be an area you can improve on. If you are still struggling with this step, ask a co-worker /or friend to help you out but do not hold what they tell you against them. They are only trying to help your future success
2. Make It Known
It is never a good idea to surprise your boss. Give them plenty of warning before discussing a raise. Tell them how you feel in a private discussion. Ask to talk about your income after work one day. Tell them you are struggling. Make it known you have created a budget and are following it closely.
Do not overdo this step and make it a pity party, though. Just let management know about the situation. Shortly after you have had this discussion, arrange a meeting, and go through the points you have noted in step 1.
3. Ask What Can Be done?
During the discussion in the previous step, you want to be sure to ask what they think you can work on to improve to be promoted or given a raise. Remember you still have 6 months to plan for.
The answer to the above question from your boss should closely resemble the areas you are already working to improve on. This is why you need to be honest with yourself when writing the “negatives” list. Not only will you not be upset hearing them from someone else, but it will show you what the company is looking for.
4. Improve Yourself
Assuming all has gone well in the previous steps, you now have six months to work on those areas to improve! If you can go above and beyond the expectations set, the better the odds of you being successful.
If you need money in the meantime, there are many ways to make money in your spare time.
5. Follow Up
Time is up! It has been 6 months since you have been rocking the positive attitude and you are now ready to ask your manager for that raise!
Remember to give them some warning to handle the discussion. Ask the week before to have a time set for you to sit and discuss your performance. This will give your manager plenty of time to assess your efforts. It also makes you reliable for sticking to your discussion.
Follow up with your discussion and state the things you have improved on and ask if they agree. You should also review the current earnings and how much raises within your company typically are. On top of that, review job boards, such as Indeed or LinkedIn Jobs, to get an idea of the average pay in other companies.
Be ready to negotiate this rate and set a reasonable figure that you will accept and a reasonable figure that you will refuse.
What to do when you do not get the raise
If you do not get the raise and your manager does not provide any reasonable explanation, you should consider looking for another job. It does not have to be immediate – you can start applying whilst still working with your current employer and leave when you get an offer you like.
The best part is, you will have spent six months improving yourself and will have a larger skillset, ultimately improving your chances of getting a higher-paying role!
Do not ever feel locked into a job. If you work hard and are consistently a great employee, chances are another company will see that and offer you what you are worth. This may be challenging and downright stressful, but I promise you will not regret it.
Have you ever asked for a raise? Do you have a tip to share? Let us know by either emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org or following us on Twitter @FinancesSmarter
Sharne is an HR and Office Administrator with a degree in Classical & Archaeological studies. She has a passion for dogs and loves to share money management tricks in her spare time!