It won’t surprise anyone that it’s a tender moment for almost everyone when they approach a superior to discuss wage growth; studies show that while negotiations for higher salary tend to be successful when people are first offered a job, few people do it after the initial move.
Lots of things hold people back—insecurity, fear of somehow messing up and losing the job, and more—but the good news is, according to Forbes.com, 82 percent of senior managers have given raises to employees who expressed concerns, and that there’s expert advice to rely on how to proceed. One caveat, though: If the backdrop to your negotiation is your discovery, either through scuttlebutt or transparency laws, that colleagues in similar positions are making more money, it’s best to leave your indignation and self-righteousness by the door. Similarly, threatening to leave or quit is a non-starter unless you are prepared to have your boss take you up on it. Taking an aggressive stance when it comes to salary negotiation isn’t strong; it’s a tactical mistake and it could cost you, and you shouldn’t confuse it with being self-assertive
Among the tips Roberta Magnuson offers up on Forbes.com are a few you might not think of, including being aware of the business climate your particular business is operating in and considering that in relationship to your initiation of discussions. For example, if you know that a competing business has just shut its doors or laid off people, this probably isn’t an optimal time for asking for more compensation. This doesn’t mean, of course, that you can’t revisit the subject; it’s a question of using timing to come up with a successful result.
There’s widespread agreement that preparing yourself for this discussion is essential and that taking an off-the-cuff approach isn’t either smart or productive. Keep mind that the more you know about the company’s financial health and its attitude towards its employees—does it tend to reward longevity or loyalty or is it always ready to reward new talent first?—will stand you in good stead.
If this is your first rodeo with this company, do your homework and find out as much as you can about the review process and about raises in general. Do they tend to be cost-of-living based? Are they always performance-based?