asking for a salary negotiation or pay rise in the same job

If you feel the need to ask for a raise, the most positive way to approach this is to ask for extra work and responsibility and link this to a pay rise, if not immediately then in the future. This is a grown-up approach that employers respond to better than simply asking for more pay for doing the same job.

Another positive approach is to ask for a performance related bonus or pay increase subject to achieving more, based on standards or output greater than current or expected levels. This again should be received positively by the employer because you're offering something in return, and not simply asking for more money, which most people tend to do.

If you do not understand the organization's method of awarding pay increases, your first step should generally be to discuss this with your boss. Pay is normally linked to performance, which allows the company to increase your grade, or promote you, or to award a bonus. Discuss with your boss how you can improve your performance and contribution to the organization, in a way that will enable promotion and grading and pay improvement. At times of low inflation any significant annual pay increase is not automatic or a 'right' of the employee - a pay increase will generally be given in return for achieving agreed objectives or standards and an increased contribution to organizational performance. Find out what process exists in your organization to enable this exchange to happen. It's always essential to keep your boss informed of your position, so talk to them first. If your boss doesn't know then you should ask your personnel department, or person responsible for personnel and human resources, but always keep your boss informed, because their opinion will usually be sought before your employer considers improving your job and remuneration package. You need your boss's support.

Ask for a face to face meeting rather than try to present your case in a letter, which is just a one-way communication and doesn't allow you to develop a mutual understanding of the situation and what to do about it. Simply ask your boss for a review meeting to discuss your responsibilities and remuneration. In the meeting ask what the opportunities are and/or process by which you can improve your salary package. Follow the principles described here - the process needs to be two-way discussion. Approach it positively and constructively. Ask what flexibilities exist and what the rationale is for setting and increasing pay levels. Who does your boss have to make a case to? Will he/she support you? What would improve your case? What commitments would the company want from you? What exchanges can be agreed - what you can put in and what can be given in return. It's a discussion, not a demand.

Separately, before the meeting you must get an objective view and measure of your market worth. Look at other similar jobs outside as well as inside the company and compare them to your own responsibilities and rewards. Personal views about reward and job-load can become very subjective and need to be validated or it's difficult for you (or anyone else) to decide how deserved the claim is.

If you are so nervous about asking verbally for a meeting and therefore need to write, keep it very simple, particularly do not include any details of your position or justification or financial claim. Here's a sample letter for a review meeting request:
sample letter asking for a pay review discussion
(Alternatively an email or memo - but make sure it's kept private and discreet.)

Dear.......

Can we meet please to discuss my role and development? I'd appreciate your advice.

Please let me know a time and date that suits you.

Best wishes, etc

Stay positive and constructive - look for opportunities to make your boss's task in dealing with your approach as easy as possible, especially given that resolving salary raise requests are difficult for your boss too.

As an employee, at any grade, it's important to understand the company's position, and to understand your own properly. Taking an instinctive or emotional approach rarely works, and will often lead to conflict and early rejection. Try to avoid thinking and presenting your position in terms of 'I want' or 'I need'. Instead try to present an objective, neutral view, as if you were an observer, which should provide a good platform for sensible discussion, and will also enable you to present a stronger case.

Obviously threats of any kind (resigning or reducing commitment or effort) are likely to provoke the boss and the company.

Achieving a salary increase depends on many factors, and it's important to understand as many of them as possible before you make your move.

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