Did you pay attention to the title of this post? It isn’t do you WANT a raise and it isn’t do you NEED a raise. The question at hand is do you DESERVE a raise.
I should begin by sharing my own philosophy regarding raises. If you’ve accepted a job and the functions of that job remain pretty much as the were when you started then you most likely don’t deserve a raise. You certainly aren’t owed one. Private companies are not required to give you a raise just because it costs more to live. They give you a raise to keep you from leaving, the better the employment market the better the raises they give out.
You accepted a position knowing full well what the compensation was. If the company that hired you hasn’t changed the job or your responsibilities in the job why should you suddenly be paid more? If the company suddenly informed you that they were cutting your pay, just cause, you would be outraged. Well, it works both ways.
Now, let’s back up to that wants and needs deal. Your odds of receiving a raise just because you need one are not very good. Telling your boss that you need more money to maintain a lifestyle that you can’t afford isn’t very smart. It’s as if you were to walk into work and announce “I’m a crappy money manager so give me more to manage poorly.” We would never say it like that but you should know a whole lot of managers will hear it that way.
Wanting a raise is also a poor reason to ask for one. Wanting a raise just because a co-worker received one is even worse. You have no real idea of why that co-worker received a raise. This is YOUR raise request and the reasons for it need to focus solely on you. In nearly every single instance comparing yourself to a co-worker will go poorly for you. You look like a whiner, especially if your boss believes your co-worker is doing a better job than you.
There are times however when asking for a raise is appropriate. If your responsibilities have greatly expanded or you have taken on tasks that were never talked about during the interview process then you darn well should be asking for a raise. Just make sure you do it the right way!
Plan on talking to your manager as early as three months before salary reviews. Don’t wait to “see what you get” and then try to swim upstream to get a decision reversed. Proactive people get raises, those who wait it out don’t.
Make a completely honest assessment of your performance. Prepare a list of your accomplishments over the past several months. The more detailed information about your successes the better.
Gather market data for similar positions. It’s a good idea to know what the pay scale is for your position. Spend some time researching the average salary for your job. Try to get as close as possible to an accurate comparison by looking at organizations in the same location and of similar size. Your HR department likely already has this info so you should have it too.
Map your skills against what the organization values. Let your manager know that you, like all business professionals, are aware of the market value of your position and you believe you are deserving of a raise.
Do you like getting ultimatums? Neither does your boss or company. Never, never go in with guns blazing, almost any approach you can use is better than that. This is a business discussion, not a gripe session. Keep your request positive and know going in exactly what amount your raise needs to be in order to be acceptable.
If you deserve a raise and don’t get it then you have some decisions to make, just remember, there is more to success than the size of your paycheck.