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Asking for a raise

Asking for a raise

Perhaps you've been eagerly anticipating your annual review or a compensation discussion but are discouraged when your boss says: "I'm sorry, but we're not able to adjust your salary at this point. So check back in six months, and keep up the good work."

Despite the setback, some strategies can help you maintain momentum.

Dig deeper

Dig deeper

Unearth possible barriers and pressures that led to your supervisor’s denial. For example, you may be at the top of the salary band, or the organisation is experiencing hard times. In a non-defensive ton, get more details with open-ended questions:

  • What’s contributing to your decision?
  • How are compensation and performance evaluated?
  • What could I be doing more of?

More information can help guide your decision to stay and advocate for yourself or create an exit plan.

Master the art of authentic self-promotion

Highlighting your achievements is vital to building a case for a pay raise.

Find ways to publicize your successes and impact, such as offering to present a case study in a meeting with important executives or speaking at a conference or on a podcast.

Continue the conversation

Continue the conversation

If you’ve been denied a raise, use the opportunity to your advantage.

For example, schedule a follow-up meeting and explain that you want to position yourself for a pay increase. Then engage your boss about what you can do to get there.

Respond diplomatically

It's human nature to feel hurt and upset after being denied a raise. In the moment, try to respond diplomatically by taking a few deep breaths and identifying your emotions.

You may say: "Thank you for sharing that. Not surprisingly, I'm disappointed that the company can't honour my request. However, I'm committed to bringing my best to the organization and hope to continue the conversation about how I can be more valuable."

Propose alternatives

Consider negotiating for:

  • Flex time or a work-from-home arrangement
  • Stock options
  • A title change
  • More vacation time
  • Professional development funds
  • Funds to upgrade your home office

Seek out additional advocates

Your boss may be one of several stakeholders contributing to decisions about your career path and whether you get a raise.

Consider requesting a meeting with your manager’s manager to make them aware of your work and contributions. Build relationships with other key stakeholders to have more allies championing your advancement.

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