When you provide high-quality work and demonstrate commitment to your company’s success, you’ll likely expect (and deserve) a raise.
Asking for a raise isn’t always easy. You want to ensure you ask your employer for the pay increase at the right time and in the right way.
We spoke with several companies to determine the best time for employees to ask for a well-earned raise.
How to Know When You’re Underpaid
Your compensation goes beyond the money you’re earning. It includes your job flexibility, your benefits, and opportunities for advancement. Consider everything your employer offers when determining if your compensation is adequate.
Phillip Akhzar, CEO of Arka claims, “To find out if you’re earning what you’re due, you’ll have to conduct a bit of research. Look into what your company pays for your role compared to other companies. Keep in mind that salaries often differ according to location and cost of living. Then, consider what benefits your company provides. Do you receive paid time off? Insurance? A flexible schedule? All of these things make up your compensation. Not every company provides these. If you discover your compensation is small when compared to the rest of the market, it might be time to ask for a raise.”
If you’ve determined your current paycheck doesn’t reflect the work you put in, find the right time to start negotiating for that raise with these tips.
Your Performance is Top-Notch
First and foremost, you have to have a reputation for meeting and exceeding company standards in your work. If your performance has been subpar, or there are some areas for improvement, you might want to hold off on the raise request.
“You need to have a history of excellent performance reviews,” says Lauren Kleinman, Co-founder of The Quality Edit. “Many employers have systems in place to financially reward their employees after positive reviews. Whether or not your company possesses these systems, a performance review is a concrete example of the value you add to the company. If you’ve been with your company long enough, generally around a year, and have yet to receive a raise, consider timing your raise request after a particularly glowing performance review.”
Your organization might not conduct performance reviews consistently. Another way to capitalize on your quality work is to request a raise after you’ve made a notable achievement.
Max Schwartzapfel, CMO of Fighting for You states, “When you can point to a job goal you smashed, your employer is likely to reward you for your contribution to the company’s success. Whether it’s exceeding your sales target or landing an important business partnership, your achievements show how valuable you are as an individual. They suggest that few can meet the job responsibilities at the level you can. If possible, quantify your achievements to show your employer the financial gains you provide. Presenting numbers makes it easier to ask for financial compensation as your reward.”
Your company’s finances also determine whether or not you should ask for a raise.
Your Company is Financially Healthy
Regardless of your performance, you won’t receive a raise if your company or department doesn’t have the means to fund a higher salary.
Chris Westfall, a writer for Forbes, encourages employees to look at their company’s overall performance. If your company’s earnings are low and your employers are trying to limit expenses, it’s not the right time to ask for a raise.
“Unfortunately, not all qualified employees can receive a raise every time they earn one,” says Jim Marggraff, CEO of Kinoo. “It’s true some organizations might withhold raises for their gain. However, there are cases in which an organization can’t afford to increase employee salaries. It might be due to a shrinking job market or low quarterly earnings, but in any case, it’s best to wait for higher profits when asking for a raise. It’s also acceptable to field other job offers if it looks like your company is not on a path to improvement.”
Phillip Montalvo, Director of Marketing, Azuna agrees. Montalvo claims, “Keep track of your company’s posted earnings. When profits are high, managers likely have a larger budget for employee bonuses and raises. As a recognized top performer, you’ll be in priority consideration for receiving these bonuses and raises. After all, your quality performance contributes to these financial gains. If you’re already working at the level of someone earning your desired salary, and your company is in a financially stable place, you’ll likely earn the pay raise you want when you ask for it.”
An opportune time to ask for a raise comes when you’ve begun to take on more responsibilities in your job.
You’ve Taken on More Responsibilities
Daniel Bortz, a contributing writer for Monster, reminds employees that additional responsibilities require higher pay. However, employers may not automatically increase your pay because you took on these responsibilities. You must advocate for yourself to receive a raise.
“Naturally, employers want to give projects and roles to employees they trust,” says Brett Estep, COO of Insured Nomads. “With an excellent performance record, you demonstrate that you can handle more responsibilities in your role. While assuming these responsibilities is a great way to earn a raise, you must ask for one. If you don’t, you might end up doing the job of someone who earns more while you receive less. Determine what kind of role you’re filling with these new responsibilities. Research what the average pay is for this role across different companies. See if you can establish an appropriate raise based on these new responsibilities and your current role.”
Employers may go beyond giving an employee more responsibilities without the additional compensation.
Bortz claims that some companies may promote an employee without increasing their salaries.
Nick King, CEO of Vint states, “If you’re about to receive a promotion within your organization, communicate with your superiors to learn if this new title comes with higher pay. Usually, promotions require employees to take on an entirely new or increased set of responsibilities. Your employers should provide additional training and modifications to your paycheck. See what other companies pay employees in similar roles. You want your employers to compensate you for the work you’re doing, and if they value you enough to offer a promotion, they’ll most likely offer the appropriate pay you request with it.”
Though additional responsibilities might warrant a raise, Loic Claveau, CMO at TakeUs recommended caution before requesting higher pay.
Claveau states, “Your employer might be gauging your ability to handle a greater workload because they’re considering you for a promotion or raise. If this is the case, it’s best to avoid asking for a pay increase right away. Additional responsibilities can also expand your skill set, which provides valuable experience for your resume. In other words, there are more benefits from greater responsibilities than a raise. However, if your employer continues to add tasks to your workload without providing any compensation or reward, it’s time to negotiate for that raise.”
How do you know the stars have aligned to ask for a raise? One, your current performance is impeccable. Two, your company can pay you more. Three, you’ve taken on more responsibilities or received a promotion but not the higher pay associated with this additional work. The next step is asking for a raise, and we have a tip for how to ask your employer.
Make it Benefit Your Employer
Westfall urges employees to frame their raise requests around their employer’s needs. Every employee would welcome a pay raise. The way you earn one is by showing employers how your raise supports their business.
“Your employer hired you to provide solutions,” says Brittany Harrer-Dolin, Co-Founder of Pocketbook Agency. “A lot of responsibilities come with running and managing a business, and they selected you as their ideal candidate for a specific role. When you do your job well, your employers will be eager to help you. However, this doesn’t mean you’ll receive a higher salary simply because you want one. Additionally, your employers aren’t directly responsible for your finances and spending. To receive the raise you want or need, you have to show employers what you can provide that warrants the raise.”
Rachel Roff, Founder, CEO of Urban Skin Rx expands, “Meeting goals and providing solutions for your employer earns your paycheck. If you want a higher paycheck, you have to offer more solutions. This doesn’t mean working longer hours. It’s about maximizing the time you’re already putting into the company by creating more efficient work methods or building connections for partnership marketing opportunities. Show your employers that you’re committed to going above and beyond what your role requires. Employers invest in what benefits them. When they see what you can provide, they’ll give you the raise you requested.”
Asking for a raise can be intimidating. But your work is valuable. If you time your request right, expect some higher earnings in the future.