How to Ask for--and Get--a Raise or Promotion

by C. Scibetta on Jun 01, 2001

careers BY CINDY SCIBETTA How to Ask for --and Get-- a Raise or Promotion Because asking for a raise or promotion can be daunting, many people spend hours worrying about it. They plan-- even role-play--how they will approach their supervisor. Maybe they start to ask their manager many times, only to make up excuses on why now is not the right time. Then they go home to stew over the issue, telling family and friends they really deserved a raise six months ago, so it should be retroactive! Often people feel their pay should increase because they are working very hard, sacrificing personal time away from family, even canceling their dream vacation. But are these good enough reasons to justify a raise or promotion? Definitely not. If you recognize yourself in this scenario, take comfort in knowing that a little preparation and groundwork will justify that next advancement and reduce your fear of asking for it. Read on to learn tips that will guide you through the process of requesting--and receiving--a raise or promotion. Is a Raise or Promotion Justified? Asking for a raise or promotion can be an emotional--even downright frightening-- experience. Take the fear out of asking with a little preparation and some helpful tips. If your company doesn't give regular standard-of-living increases, you must realize that you can ask for a raise or get a promotion only if you have something more to offer than you did when you accepted your original employment agreement. Do you clearly know what your supervisor or the facility owner expects of you? Do you have an employment agreement or a list of goals? If you don't know what is expected of you, you need to find out before you can even think about asking for an increase or a promotion. More specifically, you can ask for a pay increase or a promotion only after you have exceeded expectations, achieved certain goals or acquired a new skill set. Your supervisor needs to witness you applying your new skills for six months to one year before he can justify your advancement. It's not a fast, easy process, but a little planning will go a long way! Setting Expectations Developing a set of goals helps define expectations. These goals should be a list of positive outcomes for which you can be held directly accountable. Your goals should mirror the company's goals. If you don't know what your compa- June 2001 IDEA HEALTH & FITNESS SOURCE careers skill inventory checklist Do this exercise on your own first. Then ask your supervisor to give you feedback. Question 1. My Answers My Supervisor's Answers Do you need to be more business savvy? 2. 3. Would your supervisor describe you as an "excellent resource" in your specific area of expertise? Can you advise your supervisor on space, cost and time allocation? Are you a good listener? Do you really hear what other people are saying? 4. Do you stay current with or ahead of industry trends and issues? 5. Are you able to think like an owner? 6. Do you know your market? 7. Are you able to prioritize and determine where to invest your time? 8. Do you understand how your department fits into the total business plan? 9. Can you envision your next career move? What skills will you need to get there? 10. Do you need a new certification? Which one? How much does it cost? June 2001 IDEA HEALTH & FITNESS SOURCE ny's goals are, do your homework! For example, if a company goal is to add more innovative programming, make sure one of your goals bolsters that objective. Your goals should also be realistic. Ask yourself if you have the resources--such as budget, staff, decision-making authority, supplies and time--to achieve the desired outcomes. Write your goals on a piece of paper, giving deadlines, time frames for completing different tasks and the resources available to accomplish the projects. Be sure to include the most important aspects of your position. Goals need to be clearly understood by you and your supervisor. Be Proactive. Ask your supervisor to discuss your goals with you to make sure you are "on the right track." Your supervisor will be thrilled with your initiative. But don't be surprised if she has a different set of goals in mind for you. Be prepared to spend time discussing, analyzing and hearing feedback on your goals until you are both satisfied with the end result. If necessary, revise and rewrite your original goals. Begin and end this exercise with an open mind. With your goals and expectations defined, you have laid the groundwork that will allow you to ask for a raise or promotion. Increasing Your Value as an Employee Take notes and ask your supervisor to be specific. For example, if your boss responds to question number one by saying you aren't business savvy, ask questions so you know exactly where you need to improve. Then set a plan with your supervisor on how you can learn more business skills. Your plan may include doing on-the-job training, going to a seminar or finding a mentor with specific expertise in the relevant area. The important thing is to take this opportunity to begin a healthy dialogue about your own personal development. Now you can be more confident that you are on the right path to making yourself more valuable as an employee-- which makes asking for a raise or promotion less scary! Exceeding Expectations In addition to defining your goals, you should focus on increasing your value as an employee so that asking for a pay increase or promotion is reasonable. But how do you make yourself more valuable? Start with a simple checklist (see "Skill Inventory Checklist" on the previous page). Spend some quiet time on your own reviewing this list. Then write a candid answer for each question. Complete this step after your goals have been approved by your supervisor, to make sure your personal development efforts coincide with your goals. Next ask your supervisor to review the checklist with you and ask for his opinion. This is a wonderful way for you to open a discussion about your career path. You will receive a pay increase or promotion when you have exceeded expectations . . . as long as you aren't the only one who has noticed! You should be able to quantify and measure your accomplishments so you can prove you have exceeded your goals. Be sure to record your successes as they happen. Do this by listing your goals on a piece of paper and using your list to track your successes. Keep the list in a prominent or visible location to keep you focused and motivated. Don't forget to include accomplishments that were not in your original set of goals. When you meet with your supervisor, refer to your list instead of relying on your memory! How Do I Ask for a Raise or Promotion? It is only human nature to be nervous when talking about compensation. Remember, most supervisors don't like to talk about it either! But you shouldn't be nervous if you have defined your goals and exceeded expectations. Here are some tips to get you to the point of actually asking for and negotiating either an increase or a promotion: Be Prepared. Patricia Harder, vice president of human resources for Glastonbury, June 2001 IDEA HEALTH & FITNESS SOURCE Connecticut, based Healthtrax, a company that manages 15 community-based hospital wellness centers throughout New England, suggests you keep in mind these three key points:

IDEA Health Fitness Source , Volume 2002, Issue 6

© 2001 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

C. Scibetta IDEA Author/Presenter