With signs the US economy might be righting itself in the new year, 2011 may turn out to be the “year of the raise”.
During the last downturn, many workers were forced to sit-tight and ride out the storm. This uncertainly caused many people to stay at a job they were already yearning to leave because of fewer opportunities. It also proved to be quite traumatic for many, as layoffs abounded and workers were just happy to have work.
The recession also saw many employers tighten budgets – which, in turn, affected the employee. Many were not receiving their customary annual raises and oftentimes, were seeing other benefits done away with (mine stopped matching 401k contributions and had shut-down days).
With the economy now on the upswing, employees need not be shy in requesting back their annual raise. Here's a few things to consider before approaching your boss for more money:
- Do your homework. Be aware of what others in your field are making. There are plenty of salary sites out there, including (probably the most well-known) salary.com that will show you how much to ask for.
- Keep a compliment file. I keep a Word doc of any compliments I receive and from who and when I received it. This will help in building your case for your raise. Showing how your position and skills are valued and appreciated at your workplace will add much to your petition.
- Keep an accomplishment file. Keeping a list of things you have worked on and accomplished throughout the year is another case-builder. These should be specific and detailed.
- Have you been there more than a year? Generally, you don't want to ask for a raise after 3 months of employment. The accepted rule of thumb is one year after your hire date.
- Practice. In Generation Earn, Kimberly Palmer writes:
- Part of the reason people hesitate to ask for raises is that they feel uncomfortable talking about finances. To get into the habit, ask friends about how they negotiated their salaries or how often they have asked for raises.. Just explain that you're looking to learn how to broach the subject at work.
- Drop the nice-guy/gal image. Don't forget you aren't doing anyone favors by “being nice” and not requesting a raise. This is business and most workplaces expect the average employee to request raises. Just be prepared to back-up your request and stay confident in your research and your value as an employee.
Hope these ideas help. How have you broached the subject with your boss/employer? What's worked for you?