How to Follow up with Your Boss after Asking for a Raise

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A: Good, you’re not alone.

Q: Want to know how to follow up with your boss after asking for a raise?

So, you’ve finally worked up enough courage to do something many employees wish they did more often—asking for a raise

That’s incredible!  

After all, nearly 50% of employees surveyed by Payscale feel underpaid. But only 37% of a separate group of 160,000 workers have ever requested a raise from their current employer. 

With that single step of courage, you’re already on the right track towards financial freedom. But here’s the thing: you’ve yet to hear back from your supervisor. How and when do you follow up with them about your raise request? Is there a secret script? 

Understandably, this scenario can be intimidating. One approach you could take is not to follow up at all. Another route is passively waiting to hear back from your boss. Neither guarantees success. 

If you want to increase your odds of getting a higher salary and leading a less stressful life, the most appropriate strategy is to take action.

This post details when and how to follow up after asking for a raise. Also included are some scripts of what to say and write to help keep everything on track and moving forward.

How Long Should I Wait to Hear Back After Asking for a Raise?

Good question.

I understand you can’t wait to hear back from your boss after asking for a raise. But don’t let your eagerness get the best of you and blow it by following up too soon. 

To avoid crossing the line between checking in and harassing, work with your supervisor’s timeline. If you both agreed to discuss the matter further later, wait until that date.

But many managers reject a raise request by reflex and will need some prodding before they take their case up the chain.

If your boss declined your initial request and nothing has been scheduled, four weeks is probably a reasonable amount of time. That’s enough time to respond to you thoughtfully, but not too long that they forget about the conversation. 

What if your boss outright rejected your raise request — or worse, admitted that it would be a while before your company is financially healthy enough to warrant a raise? Then, you’re probably better off waiting longer to bring up the discussion again.

Following up doesn’t mean begging. It’s more about being persistent about moving forward in your career and leveling up your financial freedom. Next, let’s focus on how to follow up after asking for a raise.

How do I follow up with my boss about a raise?

There are two primary ways to follow up on a raise request with your boss: in-person and email. Let’s delve into each approach, starting with the old-fashioned face-to-face request.

1. In-person

The main advantage of following up on a raise in person is that it allows you to use body language and tone of voice to convince your boss you need a raise. After all, 93% of communication is how we say things, not the actual words.

An in-person meeting also gives you the chance to address any questions or concerns your manager might have on the spot. And if they don’t offer you that pay bump, you’re there to negotiate.

If face-to-face follow-up with your boss feels intimidating, here’s how to do it right.

  • Understand it’s normal to feel nervous
  • Schedule the meeting at the right time
  • Start with reference to the initial discussion
  • Be assertive yet polite
  • Be appreciative of their time
  • Understand that your supervisor may not be the sole decision-maker

It’s normal to feel nervous

It’s only human to be anxious in situations with stakes — and asking for more money is one of those times. 

However, following up on an initial request for a pay raise isn’t nagging. It shows you have initiative and are willing to work for what you want careerwise as a young professional. 

So if you’re feeling nervous before talking to your boss, just acknowledge that it’s normal and try not to let it get out of hand.

Schedule the meeting at the right time

Let your boss know you’d like to meet with them beforehand. That way, the easier it will be for them to determine whether or not your request is worth their time. 

Choose a date and time that will work for you both (more on that later).

Alternatively, try bringing up the subject during your next one-on-one meeting with your supervisor. 

Reference the previous conversation

Rather than take up your manager’s time by rehashing your entire argument, start the conversation with a simple reference to your initial discussion about a raise.

“As we discussed last month, I’d like to revisit my compensation,” you might say. 

You can use the opportunity to address any concerns that may have come up during the first discussion. 

For example, suppose your boss couldn’t give you more money because of a bad performance review. In that case, you could use the follow-up meeting to explain what steps you’ve taken since then to make yourself more valuable to the company

Also, think of any potential objections or questions your boss might have and practice how you would answer them.

Be assertive but polite

Another secret to successfully following up on a raise in person is striking a balance between assertiveness and politeness. It’s about being bold enough to ask for what you want but not so aggressive that your boss feels attacked or threatened. 

Learn to make your case like a seasoned salesperson—clearly and concisely stating why you’re worth more money.  And while it’s OK to have a friendly relationship with your boss, try not to get too casual during this meeting.

Thank them for their time

When meeting face-to-face, thank your boss for taking the time out of their day to hear you out. You don’t want them to feel like they’re wasting their time talking about this when they could be doing other important things. 

Be considerate and show appreciation for their efforts. Thank them for their time and effort when you leave — even if they’re not thrilled with your nerves. 

Understand that the manager may not be the sole decision-maker

In many cases, the person you report to has to get approval from their boss or human resources before they can give you a raise. 

If that’s the case, your manager may not have been dismissing your request. They have to go through the appropriate channels first.

Example script of what to say

Unsure of what to say during an in-person follow-up on a salary raise with your boss? Feel free to customize the following example to your specific situation: 

“Thank you for meeting with me again. I realize you’re busy, so I’ll be brief. I wanted to ask if we could check in on our conversation on [date] regarding the possibility of a raise.

 As we discussed, I have been working at [company name] for [number] years, where I’ve utilized my skills and experience to contribute to the company’s success. 

I believe I made it clear that I am committed to learning new skills that will benefit the company and that I am looking forward to taking on further responsibilities.

As we agreed, here are some examples of projects I completed during my time as [job title]. 

[mention a few accomplishments]

I’m eager to find out whether there’s any update on that front. Any luck with budgeting for my raise?”

2. Over Email

You can keep the salary conversation going over email with a bit of finesse. Plus, it’s an excellent way to avoid the discomfort associated with a face-to-face meeting with your manager. 

With that, here’s how to follow up on a raise request via email like a pro:

  • Be careful with the subject line: Don’t include “following up” or “reminder” in the subject line of your follow-up email. Instead, keep it simple with the date of your last conversation about the raise (e.g., “Our last conversation about salary — February 6th”).
  • Don’t sound hesitant: The opening of your email should be brief and direct — something like “I wanted to check in on the status of our discussion about my salary.” If you’re feeling confident enough, ask if they’ve come to a decision yet or tell them that you’d appreciate an update on the situation. Don’t say anything too vague like “Just checking in” or “Just wondering if there’s any news,” though. 
  • Keep it short and straightforward: Don’t tire your manager with a long email detailing your last conversation and how you’ve been doing great work. But they’ll certainly appreciate a summary of that conversation.
  • Provide additional value: Include an extra piece of information or an argument that may sway the discussion in your favor. An example could be a reference to a specific project you initiated that benefited the company. In addition, ask if there is any information your boss would like from you to decide on your raise.

Example script of what to write

Wondering how to write a follow-up email requesting a raise? Here’s an example for your inspiration: 

Subject Line: Our last conversation about salary increment on [date]

Dear [Boss Name],

I’m writing to follow up on my recent raise request.

When we spoke on [date], I asked for a raise of $[amount] to $[new salary amount], which would put my compensation in line with other people doing similar work at [company].

As a reminder, I took on additional responsibilities and led new projects generating significant revenue for the company. Specifically, I’ve initiated and spearheaded [two or three specific examples].

I believe that my efforts here have made me a valuable part of your team, and I look forward to continuing to contribute more in this role. Please let me know if you have any questions or need additional information from me.

I look forward to hearing from you soon about my raise request.

Many thanks,

[Your name]

How to Increase Your Odds of Success When Following up With Your Boss About a Raise

When it comes to following up on a raise, two aspects are equally important as the script: time and place.

Time

Chances are, your boss has an open-door policy. But that doesn’t mean they’re always available or want to be bothered whenever they walk by their office door. 

Consult with HR or administrative staff to determine the best times to schedule a meeting with your boss. If there’s no set meeting time, try not to request one last minute. That shows that you haven’t put much thought into the meeting, which could reflect poorly on your request for a raise.

There are unquestionably wrong times to approach your boss about a salary raise

Mondays or Fridays

On Monday, your boss is probably still catching up on everything else that happened during the weekend and preparing themselves mentally for what’s ahead. 

The same goes for Fridays. No one wants to think about work as the weekend approaches (or have their plans ruined by an unexpected meeting).

In either case, the manager will hardly give you the attention your request deserves. The best solution is to follow up in the middle of the week when your boss has a more predictable schedule and less chaos. 

Unsurprisingly, most human resource managers peak their productivity on Tuesdays.

When your boss is busy

Don’t discuss a raise when your boss is swamped with work and other obligations or distracted by personal problems. They won’t be receptive to hearing anything deemed self-serving. 

First thing in the morning

Does it surprise you that 61% of executives prefer interviewing job applicants from 9 am to 11 am? 

Most managers are busy getting things done at 8:30 in the morning. You’ll likely be brushed off with an “I’m busy” or “Let’s talk about this later” response, which may never come. 

Your best bet is mid-morning or mid-afternoon. Those are times when people have had enough time to settle in, but they haven’t already checked out for the day.”

After lunch

Around 1 p.m., managers are usually still digesting their food, thinking about taking a nap, or going out for an early walk. That isn’t when you want to negotiate your salary.

Place

Experts advise against asking for a raise while in a group meeting. No one is going to care about what you have to say. And if they do, they’ll be distracted from the task at hand, which could hurt your chances more than help. 

Still, the situation can put your boss on the spot. They could view it as inappropriate, aggressive, and embarrassing. 

Similarly, don’t discuss the matter with your boss in workplace common areas (kitchen or the hallway), where co-workers might overhear you.

Your best bet? Hold the conversation in an office behind a closed door, where privacy and the manager’s undivided attention are guaranteed.

Summary

When following up on a raise request, it is understandable to be anxious. But there’s a tremendous success in dipping your toes in the water than sitting idly and hoping for the best. 

Being persistent about that salary bump will propel you on the right track towards financial freedom and a healthier, more fulfilling working experience.

But don’t shower your manager with follow-ups. Treat the situation with the utmost professionalism, taking care not to come across as rude or presumptuous. 

When you score that raise, pat yourself on the back. Your determination has finally paid off. Don’t forget to send your manager a thank-you email, emphasizing your commitment to helping the organization achieve its goals. 

If a raise is not likely, it’s time you start exploring career and financial growth opportunities elsewhere.