Having a salary raise conversation can be a hair raising experience. Summoning the courage to confront your boss and ask for more money can prove daunting for even the most confident of employees—it’s just something we’d prefer to have happen to us rather than having to proactively go after it.
While in certain organizations the compensation cycle and policy are quite clear, there are still those times when you’ll need to take the first step towards securing a raise if you want to make it happen, which means you’ll have to initiate the discussion—and there are certainly some approaches you should avoid if you want it to work out in your favor.
The following phrases could turn out to be detrimental when employed during the salary raise conversation. Try by all means to avoid them
1. “It’s not fair…”
Your goal during a productive raise conversation should be to demonstrate your value to the company, not to vent about how badly you think you’re being treated—whether it’s true or not.
When you justify your need for a salary raise by telling your boss the current situation is not fair, what you simply imply in his/her eyes is that the boss is not doing a very good job of being your boss.
You certainly know what, where and how that could end up
2. “I’ve worked here for X years…”
Remember the length of time you have worked with your employer is not a measure of how much you should be earning. Not even if you worked for over half a century.
Focusing on the number of years you have worked is a wrong strategy and typically never leads to a convincing argument that a raise is well deserved.
Your specific contributions to the company you work for, and how they contribute to the bottom line, is the key here, and should be the focus of your raise conversation—not the fact that you’ve simply been showing up for a certain number of years.
While company loyalty is commendable, unless it’s specified in the terms of your hiring agreement it doesn’t mean a raise is in order.
3. “I know someone here who makes way more than me…”
The truth is employees will always have salary discussions and eventually get to have a rough view of what their peers earn. No matter how accurate you think you are with your peers remuneration information, never use that as a leverage when pushing for a salary increase.
Avoid this kind od approach since it does little to demonstrate your personal value as an employee—in fact, it could make you seem petty or bitter, which will not likely help your case.
4. “If I don’t get the raise I want I’m leaving…”
Never go to the salary negotiation table with ultimatums, instead adopt an open mind. Adopting an adversarial tone rarely works out well in any negotiation.
Giving ultimatums to your boss creates a threatening environment which will strain your future relationship even if you end up getting the raise you asked for while at worst your employer might just take the other option and show you the door.
5. “You need me more than I need you…”
Never try to pin your employer on the wall since you will likely get the opposite effect of what you’re aiming for.
A surefire way to get on your boss’s bad side is to tell them that they need you more than you need them, they surely will take the opportunity to prove you wrong by letting you go and someone else will fill your position and maybe earn the exact amount you were negotiating for.
Your raise conversation is a classic “show, not tell” moment. Back up your request (not demand) by demonstrating your value to the company with real measurable data and quantifiable evidence and you’ll have a much better shot at getting that raise than merely telling your boss that you’re great and they’re not.
The bottom line for any successful salary conversation with your boss is, plan for it as you would any other persuasive presentation. Come equipped with a list of convincing, undeniable evidence that demonstrates why you’re worth a salary increase—not why you feel entitled to one and upset why it hasn’t happened yet.
Many bosses are “bottom line” thinkers, and if you can make a case that highlights your value to their bottom line, then you’ve put yourself in the best possible position to get the raise you’re aiming for.