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The most recent numbers are in, and they’re ugly. The Consumer Price Index is 9.1% higher than one year ago, with certain sectors like energy (gas prices) being markedly higher. If you haven’t received at least a 9.1% pay raise in the last year, that means that your purchasing power has decreased.

The surging cost of living in the US has led many employees to the necessary conclusion that they need a pay increase. With growth and demand high, it seems only fair that top workers should be compensated for their diligent work – especially in an economic environment that is eroding their earnings so rapidly.

However, broaching the subject can be intimidating and awkward. Asking the company to up its expenses in the form of your salary can seem like a major burden, but in reality, it’s necessary to retain talent. As a business in a free market, leaders are required to pay workers what the market demands, or they risk going under. With this in mind, here are some helpful guidelines for talking to your boss about compensation.

A Headfarmer Executive Recruiter has a conversation with a job candidate at the Headfarmer office in Phoenix, AZ.

1. Set a Time

It is unlikely that this pivotal conversation will materialize out of thin air. You will probably need to set aside time to talk to your boss about compensation, preferably in a quiet, private setting. Dropping a few minutes on their calendar near the end of the day or week can help relax the environment. You can also borrow a few minutes from any regular catch-up or evaluation and direct the conversation towards the effect of inflation on wages.

2. Recap the Highlights

Your manager doesn’t necessarily have their finger on the pulse of every teammate’s work schedule. With various players to keep track of, it’s quite possible that they may have missed major achievements or client praise you have garnered recently. Put together a highlight reel of recent wins you’ve tallied and demonstrate explicitly how your work and your efforts have benefitted the team. Printed emails and sales statistics can help drive your points home.

3. Paint a Picture

Pivot from discussing the past to outlining the future. The objective of any business leader is to see growth and improvement, so speak in those terms when it comes to your added value. How will your presence and skill set help the team and the firm achieve various goals in the coming year and beyond? Why is paying you more a much better alternative for the future of the business than seeking outside talent at a lower cost? Learning how to ask for a raise is about creating a vision that aligns your manager’s goals with your own.

4. Be Firm But Reasonable

Speak confidently, but not rigidly. Present your ideas and viewpoints with a resolute and matter-of-fact tone, but remain approachable. Talking to your boss about compensation will likely evolve into a larger discussion with some back-and-forth. Have an open mind to their opinions, and be prepared to engage in a reasonable dialogue regarding your performance and the expectations if your raise is granted.

5. Provide Data

When it comes to asking for a raise, numbers are your friend. Present clear evidence of the effect that inflation is having on wages. Compare your compensation history to the cost of living, as well as to the market rates for your position. If you can demonstrate with verifiable labor market data that you are not being paid what others in your position earn, your employer should have a lightbulb moment. Any capitalist understands that if they don’t stay in line with supply and demand, they will be left without a team.

6. Practice…But Not Too Much

Jot down the major talking points of your discussion, then review them a few times. Practice the conversation with yourself in the mirror, then again with a friend or family member. Recording the conversation and listening back can feel painful, but it is incredibly helpful at improving your tone of voice and word choice. Have a firm idea of your major points, but leave enough flexibility in your rehearsing to react to the genuine conversation. An over-practiced speech is obvious and off-putting, and it could hurt your chances of getting the raise you deserve.

A Headfarmer Executive Recruiter and Job Candidate shake hands during a meeting at the Headfarmer headquarters in Phoenix, AZ.

Level Up Your Career with Headfarmer

We believe every employee should be empowered to manifest the career they’ve always dreamed of. If it’s time to make a move, we’re here for you.

For more than a decade, the executive recruiters at Headfarmer have worked tirelessly to connect top-tier candidates in the Greater Phoenix area with opportunities where they can make a difference. Our experienced team of search professionals takes a dedicated, personal approach to every candidate, prioritizing your career trajectory and cultural preferences. A holistic approach to recruiting enables us to make placements that truly fit, benefiting all parties involved and cultivating a meaningful relationship in the process. Work with a search professional at Headfarmer who knows and understands your ambitions. Get in touch with us today to start leveling up your career.

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