How to ask for a pay rise – in 5 ‘easy’ steps!

We’ve all heard that money isn’t supposed to motivate us, right? We’re supposed to value the other stuff: the great boss, working flexibly, decent benefits, and a cool working environment.  This is true to a point but when the money isn’t “right”, then it becomes a destabiliser to motivation and performance.

So, what if you’ve worked your backside off over the last 12 months and you feel you deserve a discretionary bump, or you’ve seen others doing the same job as you, overtake you in the market moneywise, or recruiters are promising you the world in another company? 

Can the other perks then start to become less important if you feel you’re not being paid your worth? Absolutely.

Hard times, but…

Economic times for many businesses are tough right now, so it may seem like asking for more money is even harder than before. 

On average, the cost of losing an employee has reached £11,000. This is based on a loss of productivity, advertising costs, agency fees, and new equipment, not to mention the time it takes a newbie to get up to speed. It makes absolute commercial sense for businesses to hang on to and invest in their best people.

When it comes to asking for a pay rise, many people tremble at the knees and avoid the conversation.  However, when people don’t receive pay rises, the disgruntlement continues. and ultimately lead to you leaving. Worse, you may choose to stay, becoming a demotivated poor performer with all the “skill” but not the “will”.  Bad for you, bad for your employer.

It’s all in the planning

Asking for a pay rise doesn’t need to be an anxiety-inducing experience. We have pulled together our top 5 tips giving you the foundations to set yourself up for a productive and hopefully successful conversation about how you are rewarded.

  1. Be clear about your why – what is it that makes you feel you’re worth a pay rise? You might have taken on more responsibilities and consistently delivered great results, or you feel you’re falling short against the industry based on your value. It is really important you get this first bit straight in your mind! If you can’t articulate it, then how can the business see it?
  1. Lay the groundwork – you won’t get a pay rise if your day-to-day performance and behaviours are poor. Simply saying ‘Jimmy over the road gets 10k more than me’ just doesn’t cut it. Make sure you’re on your way to delivering your objectives, that you’ve had great feedback in your reviews and have the ability to back this up so you can demonstrate what you’ve achieved AND the future potential you have too. 
  1. Investigate – if you feel your pay is out of whack with the market, do some proper research. Look at job boards (multiple), talk to recruiters (good ones) and compare what you’re doing with what the market is paying out. 
  1. Make friends with HR – HR folk get a lot of stick, but believe us, they have a tough job; trying to balance the needs of the people with those of the business, and that isn’t always easy to line up. Talking with HR, in confidence, can sometimes give you some pointers about how best to make your pitch. Pay equity is incredibly important, but do your best to leave out legal rights, which might get people’s backs up and could impact your end game.
  1. Arrange a sit-down with your boss – think about a good time to do this and when they might be more agreeable! Block out scheduled time for it so they know it’s important and can also prepare – bringing it up casually may lead to you being brushed off equally casually.  Make your case with your value and what you’ve already brought to the table, along with your plans for the future and how they’ll impact the performance of you and the team.  Follow up your meeting with a short email summary of your proposal.

Remember your brand 

It is often the case that your direct line manager is not in a position to make the decision about pay, so get them on your “team” and work with them. Be aware that they are also employees who may face exactly the same thoughts about their own pay, so be kind but focused on what you need to maintain high performance.

Remember in all your interactions to be positive. Knowing your worth is great, but making threats about jacking it all in if you don’t get what you want is risky territory. Instead, focus on what you bring to the business, so your employer is reminded what they’ll lose if you do decide the grass is greener when they’re weighing up your proposal. 

Be ready to deal with the consequences of whatever the outcome of this is. Sometimes businesses cannot give what every employee wants, and that is the reality of business.  Fingers crossed this gets you where you want to be, but if you’ve done the work, presented your case, and you’re still not feeling TOTALLY valued, it sounds like you’ve got a choice to make…

If you or your team want to learn more about how to influence others, negotiate great deals or develop your personal brand, get in touch with the wayvie team via our online contact form.

How to ask for a pay rise – in 5 ‘easy’ steps! was written by

Jennifer Keay

Jen is our dedicated Training Administrator with extensive experience in HR and people development roles. She’s passionate about helping individuals grow and works tirelessly to support the entire team at wayvie in delivering exceptional customer experiences.

Jen Keay

Pete Starr

Pete is the Founder of wayvie, with a wealth of experience in learning and development, sales, and leadership. He’s passionate about helping green businesses excel by investing in their people. Pete’s expertise includes selling, account management, leadership development, performance coaching, and he’s an enthusiast of Wim Hof’s cold water techniques.

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