How to ask for a payrise - In 5 easy steps!

Set yourself up for a productive and hopefully successful conversation about how you are rewarded

We’ve all heard that money isn’t supposed to motivate us, right? We’re supposed to value the other stuff; the great boss, working flexibly, decent benefits, a cool working environment etc.  Which is true to a point but when the money isn’t “right”, then it becomes a destabiliser to motivation and performance.

So, what if you’ve worked your back-side off over the last 12 months and you feel you deserve a discretionary bump, or you’ve seen others doing the same job as you, overtake you in the market moneywise, or recruiters are promising you the world in another company?

Can the other perks then start to become less important if you feel you’re not being paid your worth? Oh, absolutely.

Economic times for many businesses are tough right now, so it may seem asking for more money might seem even harder than before.

BUT, with the average cost of losing an employee hitting £11,000, based on a loss of productivity, advertising costs, agency fees, new equipment, not to mention the time it takes a newbie to get up to speed, it makes absolute commercial sense for businesses to hang on to and invest in their best people.

When it comes to asking for a pay rise, many people tremble at the knees and avoid the conversation.  The disgruntlement continues and ultimately leads to you leaving; or worse, staying and becoming a demotivated poor performer with all the “skill” but not the “will”.  Bad for you, bad for the business.

BUT it doesn’t need to be an anxiety inducing experience. With our top tips, you can set yourself up for a productive and hopefully successful conversation about how you are rewarded:

  1. Be clear about your why – what is it that makes you feel you’re worth a rise? You might have taken on more responsibilities, consistently delivered great results, or you feel you’re falling short against the industry based on your value. It is really important you get this first bit straight in your mind! If you can’t articulate it, then how can the business see it?
  1. Lay the ground work - you’re not going to get a pay rise if your day to day performance and behaviours are poor. Simply saying ‘Jimmy over the road gets 10k more than me’ just doesn’t cut it. Make sure you’re on your way to delivering your objectives, that you’ve had great feedback in your reviews and have the ability to back this up so you can demonstrate what you’ve achieved AND the future potential you have too.
  1. Investigate - if you feel your pay is out of whack with the market, do some proper research. Look at job boards (multiple), talk to recruiters (good ones) and compare what you’re doing with what the market is paying out.
  1. Make friends with HR – HR folk get a lot of stick, but believe us, they have a tough job; trying to balance the needs of the people with those of the business, and that isn’t always easy to line up. Talking with HR, in confidence, can sometimes give you some pointers about how best to make your pitch. Pay equity is incredibly important, but do your best to leave out legal rights, which might get people’s backs up and could impact your end game.
  1. Arrange a sit-down with your boss - think about a good time to do this and when they might be more agreeable! Block out scheduled time for it so they know it’s important and can also prepare – bringing it up casually may lead to you being brushed off equally casually. Make your case with your value and what you’ve already brought to the table, along with your plans for the future and how they’ll impact the performance of you and the team.  Follow up your meeting with a short email summary of your proposal.

It is often the case that your direct line manager is not in a position to make the decision about pay, so get them on your “team” and work with them. Be aware that they are also employees who may face exactly the same thoughts about their own pay, so be kind but focused on what you need to maintain high performance.

Remember in all your interactions to be positive. Knowing your worth is great, making threats about jacking it all in if you don’t get want you want is risky territory. Instead, focus on what you bring to the business, so they’ll know automatically what they’ll lose if you do decide the grass is greener, when they’re weighing up your proposal.

Be ready to deal with the consequences of whatever the outcome of this is. Sometimes businesses cannot give what every employee wants and that is the reality of business.  Fingers crossed this gets you where you want to be, but if you’ve done the work, presented your case and you’re still not feeling TOTALLY valued, it sounds like you’ve got a choice to make…


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