Asking for a raise at work isn’t a once-a-year opportunity. To truly advocate for yourself in the workplace, it’s best to think about earning more money as an ongoing goal, that you can take an active role in year-round.
Make it an annual thing Have an annual beginning of year ‘kick-off’ meeting with your supervisor. In this meeting, you should talk about your goals for the year and lay out a path to promotion or raise, even if those things more than a year away for your role.
Advocate for yourself Regardless of what time of year it is, if you haven’t already, let your supervisor know that you appreciate and value your role, and want to take an active position in ensuring that you are able to bring your best work to everything you do.
Get it on the calendar If you don’t already know, ask when you will have performance and salary reviews throughout the year, and then block those dates off on your calendar.
Tip: If your company doesn’t provide you with someone to have these conversations, or your supervisor refuses, ask someone else who you can go to for these discussions. Your career is not meant to be navigated alone!
Advocating for Yourself is a Year-Round Job
Collect Your Accomplishments
Formal feedback Your company likely has a method for collecting feedback on your performance, either at the end of the year, mid-year, or throughout the year. Maybe they even collect performance feedback with each project, which can be more timely and work in your favor when it comes to explaining why you deserve a raise. You can use this feedback as evidence to support your request, but you also want to take your own notes throughout the year.
Accomplishments Learned something new, that positively impacted the company or your ability to do your work? Met a goal, or surpassed expectations of your co-workers? Keep note of all of your accomplishments throughout the year in an easy-to-access place, and bring them up to your supervisor when discussing what your compensation package should look like this year.
Tip: Bragging about your accomplishments is not bad. Believe that! If a co-worker sends you a nice message about something you’ve done, especially if it’s someone who is in a higher role than you in the company, feel free to forward it to your boss, with a note about how excited you are to be making an impact at the company.
Start 3 months out from your review Once you find out when raises and bonuses are decided, block off a date on your calendar three months prior to that with a reminder to ask your supervisor when you should have a preparatory discussion to talk about your goals for your upcoming review. It’s important to have this discussion before the year-end review, so that your supervisor knows what you want before they begin any year-end discussions with management.
State what you want, why you deserve, and make it collaborative! In this meeting, you’ll state your desires for a raise and/or bonus, mention some of the accomplishments that you hope will be taken into consideration in your updated compensation package and promotion decision (if applicable), and ask your supervisor to weigh in on what needs to be done to earn those amounts.
Tip: Even if you know it’s not a raise or promotion year for you, still have this discussion with your supervisor so that you can prepare for the following year, and stay on their radar as someone who won’t be overlooked when it comes to opportunities.
The Talk: You’ve Got This 💪🏽
Once you have collected information about your past accomplishments, it’s time to prepare for your year-end review.
Remember that this isn’t a one-time conversation. You are going to hear yes and no many times in your career, and even if this one doesn’t go as planned, it’s the practice that could make the difference down the line when a yes is even more important to get.
Also keep in mind that the person on the other end of the discussion isn’t your enemy. Your company wants you to do your best work, and they (most likely) want to compensate you in a way that motivates you to do just that.
Prepare some bullet points to bring up if you need to give more evidence as to why you deserve a raise or promotion at this time.
If you are told that the company has decided against increasing your compensation to a level that you want or giving you a promotion, calmly reiterate your most important points, and ask your boss to reconsider.
If it is still a no, shake it off, and ask them about next steps. Let them know that you understand that right now may not be the best time, and ask to schedule a follow up call to create a plan to revisit the raise or promotion in 3-6 months.
On your follow up call, you’ll ask for specific feedback on what to complete between now and 3-6 months from now in order to make the raise or promotion happen. Then, get to work!