Asking for a pay raise

Pay raise imageOne of the hardest conversations among a supervisor and an employee is asking for a pay raise. However, a good boss wouldn’t put an employee in the situation of having to take the first step. The best practice for handling increases in pay is for the supervisor to discuss how the employee moves up the pay scale at the beginning of employment. It is also appropriate to discuss an increase in pay when an employee’s responsibilities, hours, or salary scale changes.

Since many employers don’t discuss future pay increases at the time of hire, employees are put in the awkward situation of having to ask. Here are two ways an employee might approach a supervisor and two questions that an employee should ask. Each of these questions avoids being labeled a whiner and/or a person who complains since that is what many bosses might hear when an employee broaches the subject of money.

First, the employee needs to understand from his/her boss when an increase in pay will be considered. Does that happen after a probationary period, when job responsibilities change, or during an annual performance review? Knowing an increase in pay is going to be a topic of discussion at some specified time will prove a relief for both the boss and employee.

Second, what does an employee have to do within his/her job responsibilities to be of more value to the company and earn an increase in pay? The simple question: “What things can I be doing in my job to merit a pay raise?

–Barney Cohen

President, Business 360 Northwest


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