How do I ask for a raise now after my performance review?
February 2, 2014 7:28 AM   Subscribe

Our company received salary adjustments at the beginning of the year. Basically what I would consider cost of living adjustments. Maybe mine was slightly higher, but not much. I recently had a performance review but did not ask for the raise I believe I deserve for a couple reasons. Can I do anything about that now?

This was my first year at the company, so I was not sure how salary adjustments work. I was not expecting the salary adjustment before my performance review, so that seemed to make the situation different. I wondered what to do about asking for another raise.

I had my performance review last week, which happened to come after a day that shook my confidence at work slightly, taking the wind out of my 'asking for a raise' sails. I had planned on discussing a raise, did my research to make my case, but decided against asking after my perceived 'bad day'. In hindsight, it wasn't a bad day and I got a glowing performance review. But I wasn't prepared with my backup to ask for a raise.

I'm going to reach a big milestone this year in my personal development - a license. Next year I will certainly be worth more, on the order of 15-25% more. I think right now I should be making 8-10% more than I am. Any way to discuss a raise with my boss now, or let him know that I definitely deserve more next year? I don't want to seem like an idiot for not doing this at my performance review. I was considering discussing it mid year so he has time to plan for next year's budgeting. The resentment because of this is slowly building.
posted by Amistad to Work & Money (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
"I went over my performance review again over the weekend, and I'd like to discuss my compensation with you at a time of your convenience this week. When would you be available?"

Unless your company has a hard-and-fast rule about when to discuss raises, you can do this at any time. So just do it.
posted by Etrigan at 7:33 AM on February 2, 2014 [5 favorites]

Agree with Etrigan, and the script above. Unless rules are communicated to you in advance about when compensation can be discussed, you can always bring something like that up. Definitely don't let resentment build up, since that will affect your performance, and make it harder to get the raise you deserve next time around.
posted by navizzar at 7:53 AM on February 2, 2014

Best answer: The resentment because of this is slowly building.

As navizzar indicated, slowly building resentment in your job is bad for both you and your employer. The further it goes, the harder it will be for you to do anything about your situation, since the sort of resentment you're describing tends to lead to a destructive feedback loop.

It's a deliberate strategy by companies to make annual cost-of-living adjustments for two reasons:
  1. It gives people something to look forward to every year, so they don't think about compensation outside that time or think that compensation discussion outside those times is inappropriate.
  2. Small regular increases keep people on-board even if they don't quite reach market rate because their compensation is constantly increasing (albeit not fast enough to reach market rate).
In other words, don't let salary adjustments distract you from what you think is the right salary. Neither of these reasons are in your favor. The sooner you start discussing compensation directly with your management, the better. If your company is such that compensation changes take a long time to be approved, then starting earlier is better. If your company is more flexible, then you get paid more quickly. If your company isn't willing to negotiate on salary, then you have more time to find a new job.

One final observation: the terminology you use in your post isn't the same terminology you should use to your manager when you discuss compensation. You don't "deserve" a raise - the only thing you deserve is to work and be paid according to your employment arrangement with your employer. Rather, you expect a salary that is commensurate with your market value, which is (presumably) 8-10% higher than your current salary.

In addition, I'm not sure what your "backup" for a salary increase is. In any negotiation, your backup is your BATNA - best alternative to a negotiated agreement. In the case of your work, your BATNA is finding a new job. That's inherent in any salary negotiation. I think that making your case simply and clearly without too much explanation is generally better; managers are quite good at realizing when someone is nervous because they talk too much (and nervous people are more easily satisfied with a lower salary increase). If your requested salary is too high for you to find a job anywhere, then your research doesn't really matter since you won't be able to leverage your BATNA regardless of what you ask for. In other words, I think you're trying to over-think your salary raise and justify it with first principles. Don't do that - state your request and then see where it goes from there.
posted by saeculorum at 8:24 AM on February 2, 2014 [8 favorites]

I think the proposed script works well. What you may get is a promise to look at it and review during the mid year salary match if your company does one. These are where the company does a market check and then fixes salaries that can't wait until next year. Be respectful and you'll be fine. Good luck.
posted by arcticseal at 8:58 AM on February 2, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you all for your responses. All of the responses were spot on as far as what I should expect and suggestions for how to handle the situation. I discussed the situation with my manager and was informed that the company does mid-year adjustments like arcticseal mentioned. I think it went well.
posted by Amistad at 8:16 PM on February 3, 2014

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