“I want to let you know that I love it here. I have truly enjoyed the past X months and feel really pleased with my contribution to the team. If we can, I’d like to discuss my current salary. Is this a conversation we can have today?
He or she says yes, then you continue.
“I’m so grateful for this company. You’ve taught me so much, and I really like X and Y [you can mention team members, systems, projects]. I feel there’s so much more growth possible for me here, and I’m excited about what more I can bring to my role and how much more I can contribute in the coming months.
I want to let you know that I’m committed to our team and do not want to be in a position where I feel open to any outside roles. The only thing that could make an external conversation possible would be the compensation offered.”
Then be silent.
You might be asked if you’ve been looking. If you have, say “Yes” without engaging in any real conversation. If you haven’t, say “No” and move on to the Ask.
“My industry friends (and my research) have told me people in my role typically make X percent more.
Give your boss a minute to process. It’s extremely like they haven’t been presented with this argument before. They might ask for a number to which you can respond:
“Currently I’m making $X. My understanding is that the market rate for my position is $X, and I would like to match that, if possible.”
Then stop talking.
“Thank you so much for listening. I’m happy we had this conversation. I look forward to our next discussion and then working with you to achieve our goals over the next six to twelve months.
- Manager says yes, and you get what you want.
- Manager says no (no money budgeted) and you ask for other perks.
- Manager says no and asks you to improve your performance.
Outcome #1 You get what you want
Outcome #2 You ask for other perks
Instead of a raise, you can ask for:
- Additional vacation days
- Remote work
- New exposure (projects, places..)
- Trainings, educational assistance
- Workshops, conferences, forums
Manager: Sarah, we’d love to give you what you’re asking for, but it’s not in the budget for this year. We can revisit this within X months from now on.
Employee: Thanks for letting me know, Amy. I really appreciate you looking into it for me. I’ve a couple of other questions, if that’s okay?
M: Please go ahead.
E; If there’s no room for my salary, may I request one or two other things in the interim that would be really helpful to me?
M: You can certainly ask, yes.
E: My friends in the industry have WFH flexibility on Fridays. Is this something we can discuss?
M: It could be. Are you talking about every week?
M: Okay, I’ll get back to you on that. Is there a second thing?
E: Yes, I’m really interested in attending more events and conferences in our industry. There’re a few coming up that I’d love to go to. Is there a budget for these?
Regardless of what your boss says, wrap it up positively…
E: Thanks again for listening, Amy. I look forward to hearing from you on these. I’ll also mark my calendar for the date you set to revisit our initial chat. If you need anything else from me or have any questions for me, please ask. I really appreciate everything you’re doing for me.
Outcome #3 You’re asked to improve your performance
It’s a common outcome. Here’s a good way to handle
M: In order for us to give you what you’re asking for, we need you to be performing at a higher level. Let me explain to you what that is……
E: Thanks for explaining this to me, Amy. I’m really excited to take this direction and create a game plan with you to get where I need to be. I’m confident I can get to the level you need me to be within X months. To clarify, once I get there and fulfill what’s expected of me, will I be in a position to receive the increase I’m hoping for? And if so, can you and I please have perhaps bi-weekly check-ins to ensure I’m on track?
M: Yes that’s the goal.
E: Thanks again for listening, Amy. I look forward to working on all these objectives. I’ll Send you an invite for our regular check-ins to ensure I’m on track. If you need anything from me, please let me know. I really appreciate your time and help.
If you don’t ask, the default is often ‘no’. Remember this:
- It’s about more than money.
- Timing, performance and confidence must be at peak.
- Conduct your own research.
- Optimism matters.
- Listen first to make negotiation work.
- Convey enthusiasm for your work.
Still feeling scared? Take a look at the photo of yourself as a kid. He or she is counting on you.
Then, celebrate. You did it, no matter the outcome. That’s enough. Bravo!