Congratulations on making it through your probationary period! What is your next move now that you officially have roots in the company? Could it be the right time to talk to your boss about a pay raise? At a glance, the subject seems nerve-wracking. What if things turn sour and it costs you your job?
As John F. Kennedy once said, ““Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” Avoid diving in blindly, here are a few tips on negotiating a salary increase after your probation period.
Timing, timing, timing
Before you arrange for a meeting with your boss, make sure it is at an appropriate time. How can you be sure? Evaluate the environment in your office – is the company making a profit, merely getting by or doing poorly? Notice how the other teams are getting by. For example, is everyone doing more for less? The answers will give you an indication of whether it’s a good idea to proceed.
TIP: Get familiar with your company’s policy on salary increments.
“The worst thing you can say is ‘I want $X for this job,’ leaving no opening for negotiation by the other side. Better language is ‘I hope to earn between $X and $X.’ That gives the other party more flexibility.” – Bill Coleman
Market research and making lists
First things first, find out what’s the market rate for your profession. Use resources like Glassdoor, Payscale or Salary.com to know what’s the going rate in your industry and what is considered reasonable and fair. You should also factor in other perks the company offers when making your decision.
Armed with that information, go on and write down concrete reasons why you deserve a raise. Make a list of your significant contributions, new skills you’ve acquired during your probation and any extra projects you took on. Pay attention to the times you managed to achieved customer satisfaction, met tight deadlines, generated revenue and where you have helped the company save.
TIP: Think about and write down what the company has gained from your accomplishments at work. Think of the company’s ROI instead of your own.
Practice your pitch
The conversation you’re about to have is essentially a sales pitch. What do you do before a big pitch? Practice! Write a script of what you would like to say, say it out loud and edit where it is necessary. You will find that reading your script out loud will help you cut out unnecessary phrases faster. It would also be helpful to get someone to role-play the conversation with you. During this part of your prep, take into account your boss’s personality and communication style.
“The most difficult thing in any negotiation, almost, is making sure that you strip it of the emotion and deal with the facts.” – Howard Baker
Time to talk
Start by asking for feedback on your progress so far. If it’s positive, bring up the topic of a raise. You could start by gently reminding your boss of the verbal agreement to review your salary after probation (only if this applies). Back up your request with past performance. Don’t make it personal or use your colleague’s salary as a comparison. It will be helpful for you to show determination and a willingness to cooperate during the conversation.
Prepare for the worst
The reality is, even if you follow these salary negotiation tips, things may not turn out as planned. If the answer is no, don’t be disheartened. Remember that it does not mean that your work is not valued or that you won’t get a salary increase further down the line.
Don’t make a hasty decision at this point to leave, just put your pay concerns on the back burner for now. Consider your boss’s feedback, ask how you can improve and stay on your grind. In this instance, hearing a ‘no’ in return does not translate to ‘never.’
More insight: Millennials, is it time you negotiated a pay raise?