How to ask for what you’re worth

Successfully asking for a pay rise isn’t about money. Well, it is, of course, but there’s far more to it than that. If it were just about money, then you’d be handing in your resignation to take the new role you’ve found with a higher salary.

Asking for a pay rise is about understanding your value relative to your role, company and sector and then asking for that to be recognised.

I mentor a Head of Product Development in what was a start-up a few years ago. He recently faced a dilemma. Should he leave and join another start-up for a massive hike in money or stay where he is and ask for what he sees as his market worth?

He has been in role for almost two years and has built the team from 5 to 15, upgraded two core products and is about to launch a third that he initiated. He’s been approached by two recruiters and a head-hunter to see if he wants to be CTO in a new product-based start-up but, as we discussed, although it will be a new company and the pay will be a large hike, the job will be the same as what he has already done.

If he chooses to stay where he is now and invest further with the known company, he feels there is more ‘unknown’ for him to grow into and more to learn. But he feels underpaid and therefore undervalued.

My client is detail-oriented and risk-averse but was ready to take the leap for bigger money and the sense of worth that the figure gave him. He’d even gone as far as getting an offer in writing thinking that would be a way to ask for more money where he is but I quickly persuaded him to walk away from that approach.

Why? Because it amounts to a threat and it’s one that can backfire. It shows either that you’ve been ‘unfaithful’ by looking elsewhere for something better and/or that your way of negotiating is ‘give me this or I leave’. Neither are great traits that leaders want to see in their teams and if they call your bluff, you could be out the door when you didn’t really want to leave.

So, how should you ask for more money in a positive, collaborative way? 
Make lists. 

List the value you bring, show how you have contributed and demonstrate what future potential you have that will help bring even greater results. 

Seven clear, concise and relevant points usually works:

  • Points 1 – 3 showcasing what you’ve already contributed
  • Points 4 – 6 on how you will contribute in the future (with approximate timescales so they are realistic)
  • Point 7 on a salary range/package that would give you parity with the market and/or internal peers

Talk about how you’ve invested in the company, how they’ve invested in you and how you want to continue moving ahead on this journey together. Say why now, i.e., two years in you’d like to reassess because the market has changed, the operational environment is changing as we come out of the pandemic and you feel that now is a good time to take a fresh look at your value to the business and your future trajectory.

It’s a proven approach that has worked. And it worked for this client. He was delighted with the revised package and is energised to get going on adding even more value in his role. A win-win for him and the company.

And if they’d said no…? He knows his worth, can now articulate it and negotiate for a salary that makes him feel valued. Skills that he’s happy to have learned that will stand him in good stead in future.

If you’d like help pinpointing your value and how to negotiate a pay rise, why not get in touch and see how you can learn this valuable skill? 

Email louise@careertherapy.co.uk
Linkedin Louise Newton
Photo Алекс Арцибашев on Unsplash

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