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Negotiating Raises

Page history last edited by Holly Swyers 3 years, 5 months ago

When is an appropriate time to ask for time off or a raise, and how do advise approaching such questions?



Why you deserve a raise?

The most important thing to do when considering asking for a raise is an evaluation of your own work and value to the company. You should approach the situation with why you feel you deserve the raise, and be confident in yourself. You should think about the situation in which you are asking for the raise, as it could be inappropriate at certain times. A good time to ask for a raise would be after a positive performance review, or if your responsibilities are increasing along with increased work performance and improved qualifications. It is also important to consider the financial standing of the company—even if you are doing everything correctly, the company in that time may not be able to accommodate an increase in pay. 


When you are certain that you are bringing additional value to the company than when you first started there, that is a positive sign you may ask for a raise. Let your boss know what you have done for the company, and show that you have proven your value during your time there. Interviewee Valerie Lowry says that she likes, “…keeping notes of the good deeds [she] did to remember and let my boss know the value [she has] as an employee and it makes it easier for [her] to ask for a raise. [She knows] what [her] value is and everyone will know what their value is after a while in the that job”.


As many interviewees stated, the situation does not depend on whether you think you deserve a raise or not, but whether your supervisor thinks so. In order to determine your standing with your supervisor, you should think about your value to them and to the company as a whole. Ask yourself if you have been fulfilling the tasks posed to you by your manager, and if you have not just completed, but gone above and beyond in this work. Also, be sure to engage in a conversation with your boss about what you can be doing for them, and how your performance affects your relationship in a positive manner.


Most people who ask for a raise may be the ones who do not truly deserve it, because if you are already going above and beyond for the company, then it is most likely that your supervisor will have recognized that and rewarded you for it. However, keep in mind that in some circumstances, companies will have programs in which high performance results in higher yearly increases and year-end bonuses that demonstrate your value to the company with the performance you displayed throughout the year. 


Relationship with supervisor

Developing and maintaining a positive relationship with your supervisor is an extremely important deciding factor in your standing within your company, and ultimately how you succeed. Having a healthy relationship with your supervisor is also the most important foundation to advocating for yourself in the workplace, the process is always much easier if this interpersonal relationship has been developed. Whether you are asking your boss for a raise or requesting time off, interviewees stated that having a relationship where you can communicate freely is key. When asking for these things, it is also important to put yourself in your boss’s position, to determine if your raise really is deserved, or if the company can really afford to give you time off at that moment. You should also be able to understand where they are coming from, in terms of their expectations and their goals for the company. Both when inquiring about a raise, and in asking about time off, it is crucial that you maintain an open line of communication so that each end knows where the other stands and where your values align. 


How to ask for time off?

Although not as formal of a process as asking for a raise, there is still a certain workplace routine that is appropriate when asking for a time off. It is important to recognize that there are good and bad times to inquire about this issue. In the instance of a vacation or other pre-planned circumstance, you must inform your boss at least one month in advance, so they can make arrangements to cover your work responsibilities. 


This is a subject that is very relaxed, and can be conducted through e-mail or face to face with your supervisor whenever you two both have the time. Even after informing your boss initially, either in person or via email, you will need to follow through to continue to remind them. Earl Cheever says you should, “drop hints” to your supervisor about planned time off as you get closer to the event, so they are reminded of your absence. However, there are many circumstances in which you may not be able to give your boss this kind of alert in advance, so in emergency situations you will need to contact your boss as soon as possible so they can plan around you. 


It is important to note however that for most new jobs, you should not be taking time off if necessary for the first few months after you start there. The biggest thing with this topic is to keep an open line of communication with your supervisor and to keep them in the loop as events approach.


Structural Channels

Whether you are asking for a raise or simply asking for time off, you should recognize that there is a certain manner in which you should approach this kind of dialogue. You should be aware of industry trends, as well as how your company is doing financially. This could affect your situation if you are asking for a raise and the company is not in a position to offer that at the moment.


When you accept the job offer and have begun with the company, you should make yourself aware of any Human Resources policies that affect you, and see how the company handles compensation and vacation time. When you are first brought on to a new job, there is a certain period of time before you start work but after you are accepted in which it is appropriate to negotiate some terms for your employment, within reason. It is at this time when you should inform your supervisor of any time off you may need, such as weddings or family events of importance. You can also use this time to discuss an appropriate salary with your supervisor, as there is a certain time after you start working when it is considered “too soon” to ask for a raise.


Once you are established at the company and have followed the relevant procedures in determining if it is time for you to get a raise, you may have to speak with your supervisor directly or with an HR representative, depending on the structure of your company. Either way, it may be most polite to bring up your desire for increased pay at an annual review meeting, where you are already being evaluated on your performance and value to the company. For several subjects interviewed, their company had a structure in place for determining increases. For Bret Kipling, there is a pay increase each year which is based on performance, which is paired with an annual bonus also based on performance. Chris Lewis is a member of law enforcement, and as a government employee his pay increases are also on a fixed schedule based on circumstances out of his control.


This page was developed from interviews with:

Fay Lowry, Vince Vonnegut, Karl Miller, Teresa Lovecraft, Julia Powell, Chris Lewis, Valerie Lowry, Bret Kipling, Les Fossel, Earl Cheever



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