Ask for a Raise with Proper Planning and Execution

how to ask for a raise

Last Updated on Oct 12, 2022

Salary. It’s a seemingly highly classified topic that nobody talks about openly, but only with select company members. Most people are not comfortable conversing about specific numbers or why they deserve a higher salary than others. We all have one thing in common, we want a triumphant end: a pay increase.

Let’s be real: who does not want a pay raise? The idea of getting even just a few more bucks every payday is exciting. But one pitfall of many individuals is they mistake wanting to get pay increases with deserving a pay raise. Asking for a pay raise entails timing, discernment, and proper communication.

Asking for a pay raise can be scary. It has its repercussions: how your manager may view you after asking for a raise, how your colleagues might feel, and how you’ll view your standing in your company. But remember, nothing is set in stone yet. While the next few suggestions aren’t 100 percent foolproof, let’s see what we can do when asking for a raise and bring the probability to an affirmative answer of “yes.”

Step 1: Do Some Evaluation First

Hold up. Before knowing what to do when asking for a raise, ask yourself first, do you really deserve one? That’s a harsh question to ponder, but the truth is that you have to look at yourself the way your manager will once the idea of a pay raise is brought to their attention. So, before you ask for a raise, ask yourself:

  • Were you able to meet assigned goals? Many companies adhere to goal measurements through key performance indicators or KPIs to monitor how much employees contribute to overall company goals and keep themselves productive during set office hours or specific evaluation periods. If you don’t know your KPIs, that’s a big problem because you can’t tell if you clearly deserve a raise.This might be a good wake-up call to track how productive you’ve been in the past few months or past year. If you have consistently met personal goals or KPIs, you might get that increase. Remember: mere hard work and effort are not enough to meet work goals. If you think you deserve a raise simply because you “work hard,” you’ll have a problem with the negotiation.
  • How have you been with basic work courtesies? All of these can be summed up with one word: professionalism. Are you meeting deadlines? Do you arrive at work on time, with only a few or zero cases of tardiness? And these are also sensibilities that coworkers will be mindful of about you, like cleaning up after using the pantry, not listening to loud music others can be bothered with, or a simple acknowledgment that you’ve received an email.These small things add up, even when you are the number one employee when it comes to productivity. If the office loathes you and they’d rather not work with you, this hurts your chances of getting a raise.
  • Is it the right time for a raise? If it’s not yet been a year since you joined, should you ask for a raise? That’s a bold move and usually doesn’t work. Salary reviews usually come with an employee’s work anniversary.Also, check the timing beyond personal factors. If the company is going through a financial drought or just fired a series of individuals, your salary increase request might do you more harm than good. But for companies earning well in the past few months, you might want to consider that sit-down meeting about your salary.

Step 2: Plan the Negotiation

It’s important to compose yourself well and know how to approach your boss about a raise. It also helps that you have the right information with you. If a salary raise is something you’d like to talk about, being well-informed will give you a confidence boost, showing your supervisor that you are serious about this matter.

  • Know your company policies regarding pay raises. When does your company usually give a raise? Who is entitled to a pay raise? It would be a good idea to talk to a human resource professional in your company to learn more about how the organization approaches salary increases. You won’t want to appear you are crossing a line even if a salary increase request sounds innocent.On average, a pay raise is around three percent. A good pay raise may be 4.5 percent or five percent, and anything beyond that means you did an exceptional job. But still keep in mind that there are varied reasons for salaries and salary increases. For example, your industry may have different takes on salary increases, depending on the complexity of your tasks.
  • Research the salary range of your role within the industry. Get a good grasp of what other companies are paying the same professionals in your field within the same tenure. Try to get the scoop on what companies are putting as starting salaries in job posts and websites for job seekers. Once you have a reference for a good range of salaries, three things can happen.First, finding out you are paid more than your contemporaries may mean you are top tier, and a salary increase might be difficult to achieve. Second, your salary is just in the expected range. In this regard, you can still ask for a raise, with factors mentioned above (e.g. your work anniversary, the company selling well). Third, if research reveals your pay is actually lower than the industry average, then a meeting with your supervisor is more than warranted.
  • Create a list of reasons why you need a raise. Bear in mind that this list is something you will send to your supervisor before your meeting. Consider your past accomplishments in the company and how consistent you are in meeting goals. How about new tasks you undertook or mentorship opportunities wherein you are the mentor and showed newbies the ropes of their new role? The list also helps you internalize further why you need a raise.

Step 3: Time to Meet with Your Supervisor

Instead of walking into your meeting with a presentation of your accomplishments, just keep the meeting light and straight to the point. It is recommended that you look into this meeting format for a smooth conversation:

  • Thank your manager for the opportunity to have a meeting with them.
  • List the professional goals you have set for yourself in the past year, including goals the company has set for you. Elaborate on how you were able to meet these goals.
  • Explain your desire to receive higher pay and the goals you wish to achieve in the coming year.
  • Mention when your last increase was and what you have done to prove that the company did not make a mistake in giving you said raise.
  • End by explaining how much you value your presence in the company and that you are willing to work further towards achieving company goals.

Step 4: Now, the Waiting Begins

It’s not a good idea to rush your supervisor to a decision. Perhaps a follow-up after a week would be appropriate, or strike an agreement with them on the date you should receive an update on your request.

If your manager comes to you with great news, congratulations! But note that a salary increase means a heightened responsibility in meeting company goals and striving to consistently hit KPIs. You also have to keep up with expectations from your manager that you will always be at your best.

But it won’t always be good news. If you didn’t get what you expected, be strong enough to ask your manager what you can do to deserve a raise. It’s possible that there are factors not known to you yet, but aren’t really about you, like the company’s current budget or plans for their employees that are not yet to be divulged.


A great salary, a supportive work environment, and meaningful tasks and responsibilities—are just some of the things that employees look for in their next job. We at Focus have only received positive words from professionals and clients we’ve come to work with within our 28 years in the talent industry, and we wish to share the glory with you.

At Focus, our mission is to create an atmosphere and work culture that inspires everyone to be the best in their roles and to respect, edify and encourage all stakeholders within reach of our business. We have been honest, loyal, and innovative in working with jobseekers like you to land that dream job. We promise you that you will enjoy our company as we help you fulfill your aspirations.

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