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Unsure how to get a raise during a performance review? How fortunate you came by!
For many people, asking for a raise is nerve-racking, scary, and awkward. It can be more intimidating during a performance review. You fear that you might come across as entitled, and your boss could reject your request based on the appraisal.
Your concerns are valid. But you’re not alone!
I’ve interacted with many young professionals hesitant to ask for a raise, either because of their confidence level, past experiences, or even the situation at their company. In fact, one survey found that a staggering 55% of UK employed adults hold back from requesting a pay raise. The reasons ranged from being too scared to fearing rejection to not knowing what to say.
But you know what? Taking this single step of courage can be life-changing: it could mean healthier finances, happier life, and a more fulfilling career.
This blog post will guide you through asking for a raise during your performance review. It will be a smooth ride that evaluates whether you should negotiate your pay during(and before) your review, offers practical steps to help you through the process, and ends with an example for your inspiration.
Let’s get started!
Can You Negotiate During a Performance Review?
You’ll rarely get a raise without asking for it, but there are certain times better than others to negotiate your salary. A performance review is among the best times. You’ve already done your work, and now it’s time to sit down with your boss and discuss what went well and what didn’t.
If you can pinpoint something, you could improve upon, the better. It’s not just about money and benefits. Make it an open discussion about your goals and how you can improve at work.
You must also consider the kind of feedback your boss will include in the final report. And it can be difficult for an employee who just learned that they’d be getting a bad mark to leave the meeting with their head high.
Sometimes, people come across even worse when asking for raises during performance reviews. Why? Because they end up coming off as too aggressive or demanding money solely based on company profits rather than their value and personal growth within the company (which should always prioritize anything else).
The good news is that your boss might be expecting you to ask for a raise during a performance review. To some, negotiating signals confidence and maturity—both desirable qualities in an employee.
According to a Payscale, 70% of the respondents who requested a raise received one. So, the chances are high that your boss will be receptive to your initiative!
Should You Ask for a Raise Before Your Review?
Yes, sometimes it makes sense to request an off-cycle raise. Here are a few considerations:
Have you done something that has significantly improved your company’s bottom line?
Perhaps you took on the role of project manager and successfully implemented a new workflow program that saved the company $100K in annual expenses. Or your department has just finished up a big project or delivered an important product release that exceeded sales expectations.
Has your workload increased substantially, and a raise could help you continue performing at the high level the management expects? Have you received a more-rewarding job offer from a recruiter or headhunter, but you love it here?
Suppose any of the above situations strike a chord with you; then feel free to ask for a raise before your review. But first, prepare the facts that you deserve that bump.
Related: 7 Best Reasons to Ask for a Raise
Is It Normal to Ask for a Raise During a Performance Review?
Yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for a raise during your performance review. But there are some caveats to keep in mind as well.
First, have a good reason to ask for one. It should be something concrete and supported by plenty of hard evidence. Your best bet is tracking your performance over time and using metrics like revenue generated or efficiency levels achieved.
Secondly, prepare for what will happen next.
If your boss brings up objections or demands more information, be ready with answers and explanations. They want to know how much value they’re getting before committing extra resources. If they decline, don’t take it personally!
How Do You Ask for a Raise at a Performance Review? [7 Steps]
Negotiating your salary during a performance review isn’t as simple as barging into your boss’s office and making your request known. They have the upper hand in this relationship, so you’ll need to plan your strategy carefully. These tips on how to get a raise during performance review should streamline your approach:
- Know your and the company’s standing
- Do your research on how much is reasonable to ask for
- Own your achievements
- Connect the dots between your performance and the company’s bottom line
- Make it about the business
- Practice, practice, practice
- Have alternatives in mind
1. Know your and the company’s standing
A clear understanding of your company’s current performance will help you frame your request more reasonably.
Along with the company’s situation, please acquaint yourself with their policy on raises. Find out if they have a standard percentage or dollar amount that they give their employees, or see if they prefer to set pay increases at performance reviews instead of specific dates.
Don’t hesitate to ask beforehand if there are factors that could compromise the chances of the management approving your request.
The next thing to consider is your performance during this period. Have there been any specific projects or initiatives that have been especially successful? If so, highlight them in your request and be prepared to explain why they matter.
You should also think about the value-adds not reflected in typical metrics like revenue growth but regardless impact the company’s bottom line (e.g., reducing costs).
2. Do your research on how much is reasonable to ask for
It might seem obvious—but knowing exactly how much money you want gives your boss something concrete to work with when deciding whether or not to approve your request!
Frame your expected number as a percentage of your current salary. Suppose you’re making $50,000 and want to go up to $55,000; that’s a 10% increase.
But how do you determine the most reasonable amount to request? If possible, base your expected figure off the typical market value for comparable positions at other companies within similar locations:
- Salary databases like Glassdoor and Payscale allow you to search average salaries for similar positions by job title, region, and/or company.
- You may also have trusted colleagues working at companies similar to yours who can share how much they’ve received during recent performance reviews or raises.
- Talking with recruiters might provide reliable insight into what kind of range makes sense based on other salaries they’ve seen recently. They could also highlight trends among companies within specific industries or cities during annual raises/bonuses (like “we always bump up 5% right before Christmas”).
But while you want to think of a pay raise in terms of a percentage, I highly recommend mentioning a range (not exceeding $10,000) during the conversation with your boss.
3. Own your achievements
Thus far, you have your current standing at the company and a reasonable number in mind. Next on how to get raise during a performance review is to compile all your accomplishments.
For example, if the organization has been selling the same product or service for a long time and you devised a way to make it better, that’s an achievement. Or maybe you’ve presented new ideas that are saving the company money or making more profit.
Backing up your accomplishments with data will strengthen your case for a pay raise.
For example, suppose you’re a social media manager and using a sales funnel as your anchor point. You could track the number of leads gained through the website and those who ultimately converted into paying customers. That way, you’ll have numbers that can help prove that the time spent on social media was successful.
You can also explain how you have made an impact on the business in other ways, such as:
- “I’ve been able to increase our customer retention rate by 30%.”
- “I streamlined our process for collecting data from vendors and suppliers.”
- “We saw an increase in engagement from customers following my redesign of their website.”
4. Connect the dots between your performance and the company’s bottom line
Another critical thing you can do is to connect the dots between your performance and the company’s bottom line. That means showing what value your efforts have added to the business.
If you’re a salesperson, for example:
- What was your total revenue this year? How much did that represent an increase over last year?
- How much of that was from new clients you acquired (as opposed to referrals)?
- Is there any particular account with which your name is associated that has been particularly successful?
5. Make it about the business
Avoid falling into the trap of telling your boss about your financial struggles. Your salary request should be about how giving you a raise benefits the company, not how difficult it is for you to meet your financial obligations.
Explain that if they were to give you a raise, it would help them achieve their goals better by ensuring that they can retain top talent in a competitive industry.
It’s also important to reiterate your commitment to the organization. It shows that while money is important, it isn’t necessarily what drives your work ethic or makes you want to stay at the company.
6. Practice, practice, practice
A lesson on how to get a raise during a performance review is incomplete without the aspect of perfecting pitch delivery. Practicing suffices to help you sound prepared and confident.
Many people find it helpful to rehearse their presentation with a friend or family member or even in front of a mirror.
If possible, record yourself practicing. After which, watch the video to see if you sound and appear natural and believable. The extra effort will help get those nerves out of your system so that nothing will faze you when push comes to shove at review time.
7. Have alternatives in mind
It helps to have options and fallback plans in case the answer is no. Think about other perks or experiences that could make up for the fact that there isn’t any money available to give out this year (such as flexible hours or remote working).
But it’s advisable to know when it’s appropriate to walk away from negotiations—and not just because this tips the scales toward getting something versus nothing! It’s sometimes based on what we know about ourselves and what we can reasonably expect out of others.
If someone your manager has consistently rejected your raise requests, they probably won’t change their mind now. Likewise, suppose they always say yes but don’t follow through with their end of things. If so, they’ll likely never do so regardless of how much time passes between now and any future interactions.
Example script of what to say
Unsure what to say when asking for a raise during your performance review? This example should help:
“I’m so glad we got a chance to catch up on my performance review.
I’ve researched how I contribute to [company], and I think it’s important for us to talk about my salary.
My work has directly contributed to increasing our revenue by X%. And last quarter, when we had a dip in revenue, it was because of Y, which was outside my control. But I did everything possible to minimize the impact by ensuring our clients were still happy with their experiences with us.
My work has also made it possible for us to hire Z people this year—people who wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have more revenue coming in, thanks to your trust in me and my ability to take on more responsibility than originally expected when you hired me two years ago!
I appreciate the opportunity you gave me last year to work on [project name]. When we started, some of our other team members doubted the project would be successful. But through my leadership, we were able to change their minds and ensure that the project was a success. We increased sales by 20%, which resulted in an additional $2 million in revenue for us this year.
I also want you to know that I’ve been giving it all on [project name]. While it hasn’t had as large an impact yet as the previous project (we’re still working out some kinks), I’m confident that we’ll see similar results once it’s fully implemented. That’s why I recommend we keep moving forward on this project despite the setbacks or delays.
With that in mind, I’d like to ask for $X-$Y, which is within my role’s average market value.”
Should You Ask for a Raise at Your 90-Day Review?
Asking too soon isn’t just non-customary. It’s highly unrecommended.
It doesn’t matter if the company has seen some major growth during the probationary period. Requesting an increase this early in your tenure will only come off as selfish and uninvested in the organization’s project or team.
Career experts advise new hires to wait until six months after being hired (ideally longer). That gives both parties time enough to see whether or not they want to continue working together long-term before discussing pay raises at length.
After all, companies want candidates who’ll stick around long enough to prove themselves capable of excelling at the job—and not just hop from one company to another every few weeks or months, expecting raises whenever they feel like it.
Mastering how to get a raise during a performance review boils down to research, preparation, and the right timing. That isn’t trivial and will demand some effort. But it could be the best thing that has ever happened to your career.
So, don’t just sit down at your review and shove a new salary number to your boss out of the blue. Instead, use the above tips to create the right negotiation atmosphere(i.e., one that is positive and reassuring). That way, even if things don’t go your way now, you’ll have constructive feedback for next time.
So what are you waiting for? Draft your pitch, practice it like a pro, and leap to reap the maximum benefits of your job.