HR Leads Business

Jan 29, 2020 | Clare Chiappetta

How to Negotiate and Ask for a Raise in the New Year

According to a recent survey from Mercer, merit-based pay budgets are projected to increase by an average of 3% in 2020. And with HR taking on sweeping organizational and strategic priorities in 2020, your value to your organization can’t be overstated.

“In a quickly evolving marketplace and constantly shifting labor balance between talent supply and demand, HR roles are more imperative than ever before,” says Piotrek (Pete) Sosnowski, co-founder and vice president at Zety. You are doing great things for your organization and you should feel confident approaching your higher-ups to negotiate a pay increase.

Asking for more money can, for many, be uncomfortable and awkward, even if your request is fully justified. But, there are steps you take to ease the anxiety and increase your chances of success. Here are three strategies for negotiating a raise this year.

Point to Concrete Evidence

The key to any negotiation is to provide evidence. Your audience will want to see concrete proof of the value you have brought to the organization. “Being able to tangibly point to successes in recruitment and retention can go a long way in securing a raise,” says Sosnowski. It’s a good idea to compile a portfolio of your service and savings for the company long before going into your raise negotiation. You will not use all of this information, but it gives you a pool of proof to draw from.

Instead, plan to choose one or two solid examples that can serve to justify your request. “Can you explain in 15 seconds one concrete example of a significant impact you had on the bottom line, by saving money or helping the company to make money?” asks Andres Lares, managing partner at the Shapiro Negotiations Institute. The examples you choose should serve as quick hits, demonstrating the value you have brought to the company.

Be Confident About Your Value

Going into a raise negotiation, it’s important to know your worth and project confidence. “In the era of freelancing, outsourcing and telecommuting, HR is like the circulatory system that keeps any organization operating smoothly,” Sosnowski says. But don’t assume that your audience knows the shifting roles that HR is handling and evolving into, Lares warns. Instead of making your presentation personal to you, try capturing what makes it personal to your listeners.

This typically comes from trust, and your audience is most likely to trust you if you are confident in your presentation, your argument and your request for a raise. “It’s less about what you say and more about how you say it,” Lares says. “The facts you provide are the justification of your confidence.”

Script Your Argument — and Anticipate Responses

Chances are you have a lot more to say on your contributions to the company than you’ll have time allotted. Writing out your points ahead of time can help you distill your presentation into a few points that will have the greatest impact, Lares points out. Doing this can serve as an exercise in knowing your audience. “The first time you do this, you’ll be emotional,” Lares says. Stepping back to review your script helps you to be more objective and focus on the points that are most important to your audience.

This exercise can also give you an idea of the possible responses you could encounter. Anticipating a range of responses, from negative to positive, gives you a chance to craft replies that don’t undermine your bottom line. You want your responses to be thought out, not based on emotion. “When you write it down, you start putting yourself somewhere on that spectrum of possible responses,” Lares says. “And, when you reread it and start thinking through it, you're being proactive about where you might fall on that spectrum rather than reactive.”