Getting an occasional raise should be a natural part of anyone’s job and there should be no reason why it wouldn’t be acceptable to ask for one (unless you really don’t deserve it). The facts for you, the employee, are:

  • Inflation decreases your purchasing power when your salary doesn’t keep up with it
  • Rising costs of living due to inflation exacerbates the decreased purchasing power
  • Your value to the company rises the longer you are there
  • Usually, your position has introduced new duties and responsibilities outside its original description

The first two points are certainly valid as your quality of life depends on it. Also, under normal societal conventions, most people would prefer to accumulate wealth rather than watch it waste away, or, support a growing family. Without being able to fulfill those life goals, then it will only become worse later for the employee.

For the employer, there are incentives to giving an automatic raise or merit-based raise.

  • It ensures a consistent quality of life for employees so that they aren’t worried about their finances constantly which improves moral and prevents resentment
  • It keeps employees from seeking employment elsewhere because their pay isn’t sufficient
  • It provides basic incentives for employees to work hard and even surpass expectations

Of course, there is always a big debate about whether raises or bonus are effective in motivating people, but, for some, it does provide motivation. Certainly the opposite case of allowing an employee to struggle with a meager wage will provide nothing but resentment.

Should you expect an automatic raise?

With the previous facts presented, should you expect to get a raise automatically?

No.

The truth is, many organizations will not grant a raise automatically or even consider giving a raise when it is requested. Most of it has to do with tight finances and a perception of needing to squeeze every last drop out of their labor budget.

Unfortunately, by not giving raises where it’s due, an organization will doom itself and face one of several possible consequences:

  1. They will lose their talent to their competitors
  2. The morale of their workforce will be low
  3. The resulting high turnover caused by people quitting over wages will skyrocket their long-term labor costs
  4. They won’t be able to hire talent

It’s not easy for many managers to foresee this downfall unless they put themselves into the shoes of others, something which takes some higher emotional intelligence.

How can you increase your chances of getting a raise?

If you want to increase your chances of getting a raise, you need to prepare first. It won’t always be easy especially if your organization is pinching pennies.

1. Make a plan

It always takes some level of strategy and planning when trying to get what you want when it is difficult to achieve.

You need to gather your facts, what you know about the company and it’s vision, mission and values, and what you can analyze from its history. After doing your research you can begin to formulate your plan.

What you also need to include in your fact-finding mission will become one of your strongest cases for getting a raise. If you can’t justify this case, then you might need to reassess where you are and work towards being able to present a justification for a raise.

Also, you will need to determine who the decision-makers are and start making them aware of your presence.

2. Show your value

Your value to the company will become the most critical reason why a company must give you a raise. While there are other factors, this is the strongest case.

Why are you valuable to the company? This might not be obvious. Merely saying that you are loyal, hard working and experienced will set you up for a letdown. Don’t even bother.

You really need to define your value to the company if you want to succeed in getting a raise. Understanding your value will depend on person to person. Appealing to the decision maker will depend on their personality, typically, their behavior and motivational forces.

Most managers will be focusing on KPIs. This is something that is quantifiable and measured. Your performance will help merit your raise. These kinds of managers focus on the bottom line. The results.

If you are in sales, you must show that you are pulling in more sales than the average Joe. In marketing, show that you are attracting more customers. In operations, speeding up processes by orders of magnitude. Your salary ought to be proportional to your contributions.

It’s hard for managers to argue against that.

If they do, you can still seek other benefits which might help you obtain wealth by other means. Increased bonuses, benefits or even reduced hours or privileges to work at home.

Unless your boss wants you to become a mediocre employee, they will need to do something to keep you running your A game.

But let’s say your boss is more people-orientated and emotionally driven. Your presence in the company will be your talking points. Soft skills are of extreme value and many managers won’t know your value until you point it out.

Communication, order, and teamwork are some of many ways in which you can contribute to your company. Being a central figure in a team is of high value. It usually doesn’t happen over night. That is something you must show and prove. Why are you invaluable to the performance of your team.

To recap, two effective ways to show value is 1, your individual performance, and 2, your ability to make your team perform.

Of course there are other ways to show your value but only you will be able to determine which is best and appropriate.

3. Be persistent

Sometimes it takes persistence to get a raise. Don’t give up. Of course, don’t harass people into giving you a raise. It will only make your chances worse. Be sure to take advantage of major achievements though and use that as evidence.

It might take quite a while, but, persistence can pay off. Also, influence other key decision makers.

4. Work towards increasing your value to the organization

If it isn’t enough to be a top performer, then find other ways to increase your value to the company. Being a good communicator, knowing how to document things properly, contributing to research and development, training others and becoming a source of information will make you a valuable person.

If possible, seek other positions within the organization and renegotiate your salary.

5. Be prepared to move on

Sometimes, despite you being twice as productive as the worst performer on your team yet getting paid the same, the company can fail you.

This is something that you will want to really consider for the future. If you are pouring your heart into a company and they don’t want to return the favor to you, then you might be setting yourself up for a road of misery.

As a last resort, indicate your disappointment with the company. When you hand in your resignation letter, they might even beg you to stay with a raise. Some managers will wait until it gets to this point before granting a raise.

This is not a long term solution. If it takes quitting to get a raise, the company you work for might not be the most ideal place to be in. Consider it for your long-term growth.