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Asking for a Raise: 10 Tips for Making Your Pitch

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in HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Salary Negotiating,Workplace Communication

White Paper published by HR Specialist, copyright 2007

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HR professionals are used to being on the management side of salary negotiations, but they may not be as comfortable when it comes to negotiating their own pay and perks. However, if they want to reap the just rewards of the labor, HR pros need to become comfortable with playing both sides of this subtle pay-raise game.

The first step is knowing where you stand. A recent SHRM survey of  88,000 HR professionals is a good place to start; it offers average compensation levels for dozens of different HR positions. Then, lay out your case using these presentation tips:

1. Get down to business quickly. State simply that you want to ask for a raise and present the documentation you have prepared. Be sure to cover all your accomplishments. If you are part of a team of people who report to your boss, he or she may not be fully aware of your individual contributions.

2. Start with a point you can both agree on. You might say, for example, “I think we both know that operations in our department have never run so smoothly,” or “I think we can feel good that we’ve held health care increases below 10% for past five years.” This approach sets up a cooperative atmosphere.

3. Present a solid record of your accomplishments and rely on it as your key negotiating tool. Pitches based on statements like “I need more money to pay my bills” or “I’ve demonstrated my good work and I deserve a raise” aren’t usually well received. It’s your track record and your value to the firm that you should point out instead. Go into your negotiation armed with a list of your major accomplishments for the year. Note especially those extra projects that you took on and the initiative you showed in going above and beyond your narrow job description.

4. Offer documentation, such as complimentary letters or e-mails and other forms of recognition from employees, vendors or supervisors.

5 . Keep your tone positive. Present your raise as a win-win situation. You’ve demonstrated your professionalism; more money will help you devote more energy and enthusiasm to your work. Again, focus the discussion on your past performance and the commitment you have demonstrated to your boss and the firm.

6. Name a figure without waiting for your boss to take the lead. Be aware of any salary ceilings, but aim high. Any documentation you have about comparative salaries in other organizations can support your case.

7. Control your body language. If your boss says there are other comparable employees in the organizations who do not earn the figure you are asking for, be careful not to nod in agreement. Rather, wait for him to make his next point, and don’t be afraid of silence. Although it can be uncomfortable, silence allows both you and your boss to digest what has been said and to consider the direction the conversation should take.

8. Repeat facts if necessary. You can say, for example, “Again, I’d like to stress that the new software I’ve implemented resulted in a 25% cost savings last quarter. That represents a $23,000 savings.”

9. Don’t latch on to the first offer. If your boss offers a raise of any kind, you have won a victory that you can probably make even better. If the offer isn’t enough, say so and then wait quietly for the next offer. Often you will be able to tack on a few percentage points by this simple approach.

10. End on a positive note. If you are leaving the session with a raise in hand, ask when it will become effective. If you have not been so successful, ask when you and your boss can discuss the issue again: In three months? Six months?

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