Give me a Raise, Please

Give me a Raise, Please

By Robert Griffard

Asking for a raise can be very stressful. As such, some employees wait for months or years before asking for a raise, even though they firmly feel that they deserve a raise.

Truth be told, there is nothing wrong with asking for a raise in light of the hard work you’ve done and continue to do. We will discuss some approaches to requesting a raise that get good results.

Your manager should have data on the hard work you’ve been doing, however you still need to present your case to substantiate why you deserve a raise.   

Do Your Research

Never ask for a raise without first preparing for the reasons that support the request. No matter how good your relationship is with your manager, they will be expecting you to prove that you deserve the increased pay you’re asking for. They won’t be inclined to agree if it seems like you did not prepare.

Look back to recent projects and periods of time where you went beyond what was expected and provided real value for your company. In every case use specific performance data when it is available.  

Get market pay data for your job, your industry, and your geographic location. Here are some sources you can use: – Salary Calculator, Salary Comparison, Compensation Data

Job Salaries | PayScale

Salary Calculator – Know Your Worth | Glassdoor

You can also obtain data from freelance compensation consultants.

Pick Your Time

Timing is just as important as preparing your arguments in support of the raise. Find out when your company’s fiscal budget planning takes place so you can be sure that you aren’t asking for something that isn’t possible.

If your company has regular performance reviews, the subject of raises can very easily follow. However, companies do prefer to focus on employee performance during the review and then discuss pay at a separate time. The reasoning is that performance is a very important subject in and of itself and deserves total focus. Including pay in the discussion can dilute the focus. However, it is a time when your good work should be documented and celebrated. If the company has a set time to review pay, that is the time to approach your manager. If there isn’t a set time, feel free to approach your manager at any point.  

Another great time to ask for a raise is after successfully completing an important project or when your excellent work is recognized. If your manager is slow to show recognition or delinquent in showing it, you can toot your own horn. Don’t be shy to elicit recognition for good work.

Don’t ask for a raise during a stressful or hectic period. When your manager is short on time and patience, keep your head down and put in some more good work. Let the dust settle, then demonstrate your worth.

Say it Well

When you have your why-I-deserve-a-raise presentation, schedule time to talk with your manager. Think about what you’re going to say during your raise conversation, go over it in your head, maybe present it to someone close to you, and rehearse it. You don’t need a script necessarily, but you do need to be clear and specific. Have some pre-prepared key points up your sleeve to help guide the conversation.

To begin the discussion, you can say something like: “I like the work I do and I like working here. I want to grow and develop my skills further with the company. In that context, I would like to discuss my pay.” Or you may want to be a little more direct by saying “I’m interested in discussing my pay, is now a good time?” If your manager says that it isn’t a good time, then ask when would be good.

Referencing your performance and the market data you have gathered, let your manager know what your desired pay is. Clearly tell how you came to this amount. Be ready to discuss your data analysis. In addition to the amount you want, be prepared to discuss when you can expect your new pay to be effective.


You should present your request calmly, factually, and in a dignified manner. The way you act during the conversation is as important as the tone of voice you use. Be sure that you demonstrate confidence, graciousness, and enthusiasm for the work you do.  

Confidence is one of the most valuable characteristics in influencing people to do what you want them to do. You want your boss to feel comfortable giving you a raise.  

Expressing gratitude and appreciation for what you currently have at the company is a gracious and professional preface to an ask for more money.

Sharing excitement for your future goals, and for the future of the company, shows that you’re invested in doing your job well.

Support the Request

Use specific, recent accomplishments noting the value you’ve brought to the company as reasons for why you deserve the increase.

Cite awards and recognition you’ve received to demonstrate tangibly how you’ve contributed to your company’s goal achievement and bottom-line results.

Present all the points justifying the raise request in a logical, compelling manner.

Respond to questions from your manager clearly, logically and tactfully to further justify your request.

Key Questions

You should ask yourself if the raise you are requesting truly reflects the value that you bring to the department and the company.

Also ask yourself if the raise you want is realistic or are you asking for compensation beyond your skill set and experience level.

You can ask your manager if additional responsibilities would be necessary to support the requested pay.  

You should bring up the subject of your continued career with the company and how you can continue to advance further. Career progression should be a part of the ongoing discussions you have with your manager.

What Could Happen

Your manager should give your proposal serious consideration if you have made your case well and at an appropriate time. You can expect your manager to ask direct questions about the accomplishments you’re using to justify your raise, your plans for your future at the company. Your manager may be direct and ask point blank why you think you deserve the raise. Don’t be put off by directness. Be prepared for it and be direct. Smile with confidence and repeat why you deserve the raise.  

You must be prepared to negotiate. Your manager may agree to your request without much discussion, but don’t expect that. Most likely there will be negotiation on the specifics of the requested raise. There may also be discussion about your work history and performance. Again, confidently present your case. Don’t get flustered or be offended if your manager asks questions about your contributions to the department and company. In most cases, managers have been placed in their position by having worked hard and achieved much. They want their employees to do the same. If you confidently and clearly present your case, your manager will respect you.    

You may not be able to get the raise you want today, but a compromise will help you take a step in the right direction. Make sure that any promised or conditional future raises you discuss are documented in writing.

And Now What

After having a raise conversation, it’s crucial that you sustain or even exceed the performance levels that you are using to justify your desired pay.

It’s also crucial that you and your manager are on the same page about any new responsibilities that may accompany your new pay. Make sure you fully understand what is expected for new deliverables, new employees to be managed, your new manager if there is a change in reporting relationship, all new performance expectations, and standards. 

What if Your Raise Request is Denied

There may not be funds in your company’s budget for a raise. If that is the case, you need to recover gracefully and to set yourself up for a successful raise conversation at some later date. It is perfectly acceptable to ask your manager when you can again bring up the subject of a raise. You can also make a plan with your manager for a specific timetable and specific goals for you to reach your desired pay.  

You can also bring up the possibility of getting additional paid time off, a title change, flex time, working remotely, or even working half day on Fridays. Make sure anything you bring up is of value to you. Don’t accept a consolation prize just so you get something.

One final bit of advice is to not let the failure to get the raise be a demotivator. Keep doing good work. Even if you now feel that your future career and compensation needs may be achieved elsewhere, keep doing good work right up to the end. You will gain respect and you will gain confidence in yourself so that whatever you do in the future will be what you deserve.