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How should I prepare for a yearly employee review if I plan to argue that I deserve to get a raise?
Great question! Here are our collective, compiled thoughts on how to prepare and get a raise.
Prepare your case
Be prepared with background on all the projects you’ve worked on during that year, and a solid breakdown of your successes and areas of improvement since hire. You really need to show your reviewer that you are working at a higher pay grade than you’re being compensated for.
Include any quantitative results that correlate with the company’s bottom line, like increased sales x percent or grew site traffic x percent or whatever. Make the case that you’re doing more than what’s in your job description.
Ask for a very clear amount. Ask for a specific dollar amount, and ask for more than what you actually want, knowing they’ll probably negotiate it down.
You will need to show all the same elements of the promotion narrative that your male colleagues need to: how your work has impacted the bottom line and increased the quality of your company’s offering.
Be prepared to explain how you have added value to your management. Know how you have created impact on process, customers, or new business. Learn where and how the goals of the organization are laid out and match your story / align yourself and your activities to that.
Be direct, concise, and do your homework for it.
Don’t wait till your review – ask early
In some of our companies, decisions about who gets how much of a raise are made *2 months* before the actual review conversations happen. So if you want a significant raise, start seeding that conversation (via passing along praise you’ve received or metrics from projects you’ve managed) in the quarter before reviews.
We concur strongly with the ‘ask for it early’ strategy. One manager saw a year where all significant raises had been decided just a few months into the fiscal year - if your people weren’t in the pool in the first quarter, they didn’t get anything until the next FY (unless they came in with an offer that required a counter - which is the brinksman’s way of getting a raise).
Find out what others are being paid for your position: do a market analysis
As a sidenote, when pulling together your info, it may be very helpful to look at what people in positions comparable to yours are making.
Do a market analysis, friends. One of our members realized she was being underpaid, so she put together a market analysis package and presented it to her boss. It included data from
Have an ally who your boss trusts
Linda Babcock’s “Ask For It” is a great reference. Successful negotiation strategies really are different for women. Putting the raise in someone else’s mouth has been shown to be a successful strategy, and the more male and more senior that person, the better. “Well, I wouldn’t be asking for myself, but Jim Boardmember mentioned over lunch the other day that he was shocked at what I’m getting paid and absolutely insisted I bring it up to you.” It goes without saying that Jim Boardmember needs to actually be on board before you to cite him.
Having another internal advocate is key—especially if it is someone your boss knows and trusts. Make sure that you have more than one other person who can explicitly articulate the value you bring to your position. The ideal situation is that so many other people are singing your praises that you don’t need to! (So the sub-lesson here is to actively encourage/embody a culture of recognition and earned praise, so you can be paying this favor forward for your coworkers.)