Asking for a raise is never easy, but the old saying really applies here. If you aren't willing to ask for something, there's a 100 percent chance that you won't get it.
Still, sometimes your brave request is still meant with a no, and then the situation gets harder and a bit awkward if handled inappropriately. In this case, what should your next move be? When your boss or company turns you down for a raise, don't just walk away with your head hung low. Push on to demonstrate the reasons you believe you deserve additional compensation for the work you do.
Here are Things to Keep in Mind
Not getting a raise isn't the end of your world. There are many reasons you could have been turned down. Think about how you approached the situation. Just like everything else, there's a right and wrong way to ask for something. If you did your homework and came to the table prepared, then things still didn't go your own way, it may be time for more proactive measures to ensure you're a shoe-in the next go-round. If you know you didn't give it your best shot, it's time to re-evaluate and come up with a better plan of attack.
Think about who gets a raise. Other than a cost of living increase, merit-based raises are based on accomplishments that had a measurable impact on an organization. Focus on the following two things when you ask for a salary bump. Come with lists, graphs and other visual aids that show your impact on the bottom line, the efficiency of a department, or any other eye-catching tidbits related to projects you've worked on in the past. Don't base your request on a promise to work harder or your personal expenses. This is going to be a business decision based on what you've done, so if you haven't performed up to snuff, you may want to come up with a game plan to improve your performance and take your game to the next level.
Visit Salary.com, Indeed.com and other sites that report the income range for people in your industry, position, and location to show your request is in line with the current market. You can also check out our salary guide if you need more backup.
Ask for Feedback
Ask for feedback and an improvement plan. If you’ve done everything right when you asked for a raise, and you still get a no, it’s time to stand up for yourself. Ask your boss for feedback and to provide criteria for your next review that will help you achieve your financial goals. If there's a skill set you don't have but can get, then it's worthwhile to pursue it if it means you'll make more money. Try to get your manager to help you create a roadmap that includes a clear action plan that will get you to your desired income level in a set period.
This could lead to additional responsibilities that help you beef up your resume in case things don't go to plan. This could even be an opportunity to map out an entire career plan. Think carefully before committing to a plan, and make sure it coincides with where you want your career to go after you leave your current position.
In some cases, your boss might say that it's out of their control and that the increase isn't possible due to pay limitations for the role or other internal policies. Depending on how your organization is set up, these rules may be flexible or inflexible. Unfortunately, you must make a gut decision on whether your boss is telling you the truth. If you think it's worthwhile to ask your boss to use precious political clout to get you your money, then you may have to do so to meet your financial objectives. If they can't or won't do so, you've come to an impasse and have a very important decision to make.
Maybe It's Just Time to Move On
Now, it's time to explore other opportunities. This means that you have gotten no response or an unsatisfactory answer on why your raise was turned down. In this case, there's no clear path forward in your current position. However, that doesn't mean you're out of options. With a little work, you can find a position that meets your personal and professional goals. Change can be good if it's for the right reasons and you're going to be properly compensated. Once you tell your boss you're leaving for a better offer, you must follow through.
Even if your current employer comes through with a last-minute raise to match the new offer, you should consider why you want to continue working for people you had to coerce into giving you a raise you've earned (assuming you've set realistic expectations). This scenario accounts for many of the job seekers that enter or re-enter the job market every day.
Once you’re an existing employee, your company doesn't have a lot of reason to negotiate with you. You’re on board, and they know it takes a lot of work to look to join the ranks of other job seekers. That's why so many people jump ship to get the pay they deserve with another organization.
It’s never fun to hear a no when you ask for a raise. Don’t let yourself be held hostage to a steady paycheck. If your pay undervalues your work or the value you deliver, do whatever you have to do to align them and get the salary you deserve. Start your search for a better job today!