Many Canadians started the new year with a resolution to ask for a raise, so Metro Canada talked to a workplace expert and an award-winning boss about the best strategy for getting a “yes.”
Eddie Lemoine, a Halifax-based international speaker specializing in workplace issues, says employees should make an appointment specifically to discuss a raise. Prepare before it by gaining an idea of what others in your field are earning. Timing is important, too.
“If it’s private sector, you want to approach people after a profitable quarter. If it’s public sector, you don’t want to approach people when there are things in the media about public sector being overpaid, or expense scandals.”
Lemoine says the third important factor is to approach your boss after you’ve enjoyed a period of personal workplace success. “You should have something good to talk about when you go in,” he says.
Be prepared for things to not go according to your plan and don’t get that “scared look” on your face if it looks like you won’t get the raise you’re seeking. Be confident that you bring value to the table as an employee and your boss should recognize that, he says. You might get more vacation time or nifty perks like a smartphone.
“Never use an ultimatum,” he says. “Even if you get the raise, there will be a level of resentment.”
Instead, just be prepared to move on if it’s that dire.
Bruce MacLellan is president of Environics Communications, a Toronto-based company named Canada’s best place to work in 2010’s Great Place to Work Canada survey. He says asking for a raise should be part of a thought-out career plan.
“People need to have figured themselves out enough to know how they are viewed by others, including their bosses, and what are their strengths and weaknesses,” he says. “If you’re out of touch with how people perceive you, you’re not likely to have a successful request for a salary increase.”
He urges people to make sure the request is grounded in the company’s priorities, not just your own. Show how you’re doing your job well and thus benefiting the company, and how you will improve your performance in the future. “Any sense of entitlement is dangerous,” he says.
Like Lemoine, MacLellan says employees should be aware of the company’s situation. If belts are being tightened, raises might be harder to come by.