This is How You Ask for a Raise

Today I’m wearing my Human Resources hat. Yes, HR. If that word conjures up thoughts of some mean HR lady who won’t answer questions or help with benefits, please know that I’m not that type of HR person. I take my job as an HR manager seriously. Part of my role is to coach and advise. It’s the part I enjoy most.

With 17 years as a Human Resources professional, I’ve handled more in the workplace than most could dream up: workplace affairs (check), disgruntled/dangerous employees (check), illegal/hiding employee (check). But, I feel powerless when someone tells me that they need more money. I’ve had so many recent conversations about getting a raise that I knew it was time for me to put something in writing. There is no easy solution for handling this. A lot goes into running a company and determining the right formula for budgets and raises. But with the right planning, you can feel confident and prepared when it’s time to make your case for more money.

|   Here’s how you do it  |

1) Have a plan: Walking into your manager’s office on a whim and demanding money is not what I mean. Make a simple outline covering the ideas below and then schedule a meeting. Choose a good time when you or your manager will not be pre-occupied or interrupted.

2) Get the timing right: If raises are usually given in January, asking for one in August won’t get you results. Time your request to fall in line with company standards and protocol. If your company doesn’t have quarterly reviews, you can start planting seeds throughout the year by asking your manager in advance what is needed for you to get the raise you deserve in January.

3) Know what you’re worth: I’m saddened when employees tell me they expect a 10% raise or higher simply because they need more money. Use sources like to see what the market says about your position. Set realistic expectations before executing your plan.

4) Make yourself shine: Remember step 1? There is no point to a meeting or plan if you can’t show your manager how you add value. Have you saved the company money? Or perhaps initiated something new that streamlined processes? Make these contributions known when you meet with your manager.

5) Execute and ask: Get a good night’s sleep and show up prepared for the “asking” meeting. Whatever you outlined in step 4, present a good case to your manager and bring up only the facts and contributions.

If I had a magic wand, I’d wave it across all those who are working hard, but not being compensated for their worth. But since I don’t, I’m releasing this simple advice into the universe in hopes that it will help someone.

Not in the market for a raise right now? No worries. Tuck this post away in your mental Rolodex and the next time you hear a friend say, “I need more money!” you can send them right to this post to get prepared to ask for what they need.

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