Unsure about how to have that tough conversation with your manager at your end-year review?
Having conversations about money can be awkward and uncomfortable for a lot of people. Especially when you are on the asking end.
Nevertheless, if you feel that you deserve a salary raise because you have put in the work this year, the best thing to do is to prepare well for that discussion, structure your arguments and be confident.
But let's clarify a few things first:
Some employers do annual salary adjustments based on benchmarking data. These increases are not necessarily performance driven but are implemented to align salaries with cost of living and market competition. The raise you will be asking for will be additional to this type of salary adjustment.
Most of the time, promotions do come with a salary increase but you may also receive an increase while staying in the same role at the same job level. This increase will be performance based.
Most companies have a framework for salary ranges applied to each job function. Being aware of your internal salary scale and the room to grow within the scale (or what are the requirements to "upscale" or grow to the next salary scale) will be very useful for this conversation.
How do you know if it's a good time to ask for a salary increase?
This is a very important question to answer before you decide to have that conversation with your manager and it will help you frame your arguments more convincingly.
Here are a few key reasons why a salary increase could be justified:
Increased job responsibilities: if you picked up some extra work after one of your team members decided to leave or took on a brand new project voluntarily, the additional tasks that you handled successfully could be a good reason for a raise.
Skill development: if you have dedicated time and effort to improve your skills in a certain area that's also useful for your role (and consequently, valuable to your employer), you may be right to ask for additional compensation.
Positive performance reviews: if you have consistently been receiving positive feedback from your manager, team mates and stakeholders regarding your performance, then a salary increase is definitely justifiable.
Market salary discrepancy: this can be a tricky one because each company has their own way of benchmarking salaries but, if you can provide evidence that you could be earning more in other companies (especially if they are competitors), then you may have a solid case for an increase - provided that your performance is also good.
By now, you understand how salary increases work and you feel pretty confident that you deserve one. So, how do you prepare for the conversation with your manager?
Make sure that there is enough uninterrupted time to have this conversation
Keep this meeting private and in a comfortable setting
Bring your notes to help you keep the discussion well-structured
Follow-up with an email directly to your manager with all your points
The actual conversation:
Make your performance measurable: provide clear and concrete success metrics for all that you have accomplished. For example, don't just say that clients are very happy with you - instead, present a quantifiable metric such as client satisfaction rate and discuss how you've contributed to its increase.
Showcase your unique value: maybe you're the fast learner, the team glue or the reliable problem solver. Whichever is the case, your individual strengths can be a real asset if you can mention specific examples of how it has helped your team (and company) perform well.
Demonstrate actionable improvement: as mentioned earlier, skill development is a very good reason for a salary increase. The key here is to prove how it's been adding value to your role and output. For example, if you have been working on improving your presentation skills, discuss what actions you took to develop them, what has been some of the feedback you received after you started working on them and how this skill has been helping you perform even better.
Commit to specific development goals: a salary increase for your employer is not only a reward for your performance so far but also an investment for the value you will be bringing in the future. By acknowledging your development areas and setting SMART goals to continue working on them, you reassure your employer that their investment in you will pay off. In addition, it also sets expectations for the next salary conversation.
In conclusion, asking for a salary increase can be a difficult conversation to have but, if you prepare well, you will significantly increase your chances of getting your request granted. So, make sure you state your case confidently and best of luck!