These strategies to get a pay rise have been put to the test time and time again. I’ve used them as a blueprint in our coaching sessions with women in preparing them to renegotiate their salaries; and the results have astounded even us. Time and time again we’ve seen that with the right strategy, the right coaching and the right preparation — anything is possible. Our members have gone on to negotiate an additional $10,000, $20,000 and in one case $80,000 more.
The best way to get a pay rise is to ask
One of the best and easiest ways to earn more money is to ask for it. But, before we ask, we need to plan effectively and strategically before we jump the gun and end up sitting across from our manager and just blurting out “I deserve more money, gimme now!”
The best time to negotiate your salary is during the initial job interview for your new role, and unfortunately many people don’t take this opportunity. If you’re one of those people who’s missed this initial opportunity — take heart, you can absolutely still get a pay rise.
If you’ve been busting your butt and have outgrown your current salary, these strategies will serve you whether you’re planning for a job interview or you’re a seasoned worker. I encourage you to take your time and go through each of the sections, because the sad truth is that your manager isn’t going to stop you one day to give you more money out of the goodness of their heart — you have to ask for it.
Let’s talk about SMART goals for a minute. This is a great way to aim our actions at our ultimate goal: a pay rise.
Specific — How much do you want?
Measurable — What KPIs can you show your manager to prove that you’re worth more money?
Actionable — The necessary steps to get a pay rise: upskilling, booking your negotiation, building your case
Relevant — Using your personal brand in the company to help you stand out from the crowd
Timely — When are you going to ask for your pay rise? Date, time, location, booking confirmation
Have a plan, maximise and measure your contributions, book the meeting, show the evidence, and specifically ask for what you want.
“Every battle is won before it is ever fought” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Building a case for yourself
I’m going to equip you with the tools to build a case for your meeting, and make it a no-brainer for your manager to give you a pay rise. Too many times people naively ask for a rise and get backed into a corner when their manager questions them about why they deserve it. To avoid this trap, you need to have the evidence and the confidence to back up your claim.
What is your role worth?
Go to payscale.com and search your current job title. You’ll get the average salary or wage that a person in your role should be earning.
Compare that to your current wage: if you’re getting paid below the average, it’s time to have a chat with your manager to negotiate your salary.
If you’re getting paid around the average earnings, then its time to build a case about the added value that you bring to your role. You’ll want to set a goal for the next three to six months to ‘wow’ your manager and showcase some of your best work.
All the while, keep building your case with specific examples and metrics of how you’ve exceeded expectations and performed above and beyond the requirements of your role.
Do some market research
You should actually apply for higher salary jobs, even if you don’t intend to change companies. This step lets you know how marketable your CV is.
If a company calls you back and offers you the job with a higher salary than you’re currently earning; you now have proof of concept. Lean into the confidence that this provides and take note of this useful piece of information. Use this information in your salary negotiation as proof that you are worth more money than you’re currently being paid.
This might help too: Pay rise negotiating mistakes
Measure your contributions
Senior leaders respond better to clearly identified metrics. It’s how businesses measure productivity and ROI across the board. Think about KPIs, earnings, scoreboards, click-through-rates — these are the ingrained metrics of corporate productivity. Get as many favourable metrics as you can from your task management system.
If you can’t access these metrics, make your own metric system like the one below:
- Are you putting in work after hours, if so, how many hours?
- Do you know how much money your role makes the company?
- How would you rate your proficiency in relation to other employees?
- In what ways do you aid and help your colleagues?
- How do you go above and beyond your job description?
- What are the unique skills that you bring to the role?
- What is your vision for your role and what are your ideas to innovate it?
These are just some of the metrics that you can provide your manager. Try and provide a numerical value to drive home the impact your contributions are making.
Build bridges and fill the gaps
You have to look at what you’re doing in your current role and what you need to do in order to become more valuable to your company.
Are there areas where could upskill, what are the top performers in your field doing that set them apart, what do you need to do in order to gain a competitive edge?
These can be simple things like joining Toastmasters to improve your communication skills. This sets you apart because you’ll be the employee who can speak to the head and the heart of your company’s clients. You could also invest your time in a project management seminar, where you’ll be equipped with industry best practices that will make you stand out in your team.
At The Remarkable Woman, we are big believers and advocates of getting a mentor. Sadly, many workplaces don’t provide mentorship to their staff. This is a huge shortcoming of the modern workplace. It leaves ambitious and hungry employees roaming around in the dark, until they get disheartened and disenchanted because they feel like they’re not growing in their career.
Increase your personal brand
A common measure of a good employee is if they are great a cultural fit within the organisation. Using social proof to bolster your reputation in your company can really make you stand out.
Build your personal brand within the company, not just on a professional level, but on a social level, too. Go to work functions, shake people’s hands and have interesting conversations with them. Help your colleagues with their tasks when possible, teach them what you know if it can help them in their role.
What you’re willing and unwilling to take
Once you find out what you’re worth, it important to understand the compromises you’re willing to make. After all, when you speak with your manager, you’re having a conversation. You’re negotiating — not demanding.
It’s worth taking note of important lifestyle factors that are beyond monetary value. For example, flexible working hours, great corporate culture, you love the kinds of projects you’re doing, your manager is very supportive, etc. So, if you want to negotiate your salary at $100,000, and your manager can only give you $90,000; it may be worth compromising and taking that offer because you have so many fringe benefits as an employee.
Also, make a note of your walk-away number. This is the figure that you will not go below. Don’t get low-balled — decide before the meeting what this number will be.
Don’t say this number out loud at the meeting! Rather, have a mental line in the sand that you will not go below.
So, if you’re asking for $100,000, and your manager says that they can’t give you that right now, but can offer you $60,000; you are well within your rights to say: “I don’t think that’s fair.” If you follow these steps, you’ve already taken stock of your value to the company, and the metrics provide evidence to support the claim that you deserve more.
Sit back and feel confident
Now that all your prep work is done, sit back, relax and trust the process.
Be confident that your meeting with your manager will be productive and constructive. At the absolute best, you will get your desired pay rise and you’ll rise to new heights in your career. Worst case, you won’t get your pay rise, but your manager will finally realise all the valuable work that you put into your role and they’ll be able to appreciate the level of seriousness and pride that you take in your job.
Remember when you sent out your CV and received interview offers for other jobs in the market? That’s the proof of concept of your value in the market. So, be confident that you deserve a pay rise and that you have the option to take another job that will pay you what you are worth.
3 things to remember before meeting your manager
This is where the rubber meets the road. It’s the big day and you’re nervous, but expectant. Here are three important things to consider BEFORE you step into that meeting with your manager.
1. Set the scene
Don’t ambush your manager, tell them explicitly that you want to have a meeting about your pay.
Don’t say that you’re going to quit or that you have other offers lined up if you don’t get the pay rise that you’re asking for. Provide the evidence, and let your manager know that they can respond to it, object to it, and even say no.
Experts say that it’s usually appropriate to ask for a 10% to 20% pay increase at a given time. But, if you find that other companies are paying more much more for your role on average, it’s ok to ask for the industry standard amount.
2. Anchoring your desired salary
Anchoring is a negotiation tactic that requires you to name the amount you’d like to be paid, first.
This allows you to define the appropriate threshold of your pay rise, and it frames your manager’s expectations right from the beginning.
It is imperative that you get in first and ‘set the anchor’. If your manager gets in first and low-balls you, it will be really hard to get up to your desired amount from there.
Look, it can be really challenging and uncomfortable to be so overt about your pay increase — but, this tactic is effective and it will set up the meeting to be more in your favour.
3. Get feedback and leave the conversation open
Now that you have a face-to-face with your manager, it’s a great opportunity to get their feedback on areas where you can improve. Take a deep breath and ask them for their input.
This shows that you’re serious about your work and personal growth. If it’s clear that your manager isn’t going to give you the pay rise that you’re asking for, don’t get upset. Simply ask them what you would need to do in order to receive your desired pay.
Take notes! And then, right after they’re finished their feedback, say “I really appreciate that, and I’m going to take your feedback seriously. I’m going to work hard on your points, and I think that I’ll be able to have them sorted out in the next three to six months. Would it be okay to book another meeting to discuss my salary after this time period?”
Again, this shows, tact, initiative, an attitude of excellence and resilience. If you don’t walk out of that meeting with a pay rise, you’ll definitely increase your chances of getting one in the near future.