Ask for a raise when few other people in your work environment are doing so. That begs the question, when is everyone else likely to ask for one? Traditionally, this would occur around the time of performance reviews, be they annual, biannual, quarterly or monthly.
Nell Wulfhart, at DecideAndMoveForward.com, is a decision coach who helps people make personally important choices and move on with their lives. She offers some highly worthwhile advice on proceeding with your quest for more pay. In particular, ask for a raise following your brilliant performance, when you’ve racked up several successes in a row. When you know you’re on a roll, others are likely to know it as well, especially your boss.
Sleuthing for dollars
In many organizations, departments or divisions, and even among teams, salaries are not known among one another. When you’re able to glean salary information from some of your peers and you can make a reasonable assessment as to your value to the organization, based on the information you collected, that would be a good time to proceed as well.
If you gather industry information about what others in your position are earning, that data might be useful to bring with you during your discussion and request, especially when your compensation is less than the earnings range for your position, or when you have recently assumed more responsibility. Also, when you haven’t been granted a raise more than 12 months, that can work to your favor in your current discussion.
Note: We are all influenced by a well-assembled competitive analysis. However, avoid data overkill. If possible, shrink your competitive salary analysis to a single page. (Data on sites such as indeed.com and glassdoor.com can help you assemble this competitive analysis.)
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During the day, when to seek a raise
A favorable time of day to ask for a raise is midmorning. Too early in the morning, and you’ll likely catch your boss, when he or she is concerned with a myriad of other things. Too close to lunch, and your boss might be preoccupied with stepping out of the office or with what happens after lunch.
Mornings, your boss is more likely to have a higher level of self-control and what researchers call “moral awareness.” A study jointly conducted by researchers from the University of Utah and Harvard University concluded that a “morning morality effect” results in your boss being more likely to approve of your request.
Assuming you deserve the raise that you’re seeking, your boss is more likely in the morning to carefully consider the merits of your request then at other times during the day. As the day wears on, your boss is more apt to become both mentally fatigued and less willing to be fair, according to Dr. Alex Lickerman, author of The Undefeated Mind: on the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self.
Directly after lunch is a possibility, especially if your boss appears to be in a good mood. When people have eaten recently, and are satiated, they’re more prone to a valid suggestion. If your boss seems to be in good spirits and agrees to meet with you on short notice, the stage is probably set in your favor.
The advancing afternoon is not as desirable as midmorning. Too much has built up during the day, perhaps for both you and your boss. Plus, why wait around for half a workday or more before asking a question that is bound to provoke a little anxiety?
Mondays and Fridays aren’t favorable times to seek a raise. On Monday, everyone has returned from the weekend and, perhaps, not as settled and collected as they might be on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. On Friday, people are focused on finishing up the week’s work, leaving and starting their weekend. So, all signs point to midmorning, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, about 9:45 to 11 a.m., as logically ideal times to seek a raise.
When not to ask for a raise
When your organization or company recently had big setback, lost a major account or is facing a merger, it is not an opportune time to ask for a raise, even if you absolutely merit one and your boss knows it.
Wait a few weeks, or a month or two, then discuss that you have intentionally waited, and feel that now is the time for your efforts and results to be rewarded accordingly.
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Don’t ask and you won’t receive
It’s not advisable to ask for a raise based on your financial needs, such as seeking to buy a new house, welcoming a new baby, caring for your sick mother and so on. Those issues have nothing to do with a company’s or organization’s sound reason for increasing your compensation.
Avoid asking on the first day of the month and the last day of the month, or any other time when fiscal budgeting begins or ends.
P.S. When you don’t deserve the raise you’re seeking, no time is the right time to make the request. Worse, asking for a raise when your performance does not merit one could hamper your ability to be effective during a future attempt.