This probably is NOT the answer you expect: Most people we have polled expect a quick answer with some sort of sharp-angle on how to get more bucks out of the place you work for by simply asking for it, or by demanding it “or you’ll leave”, or some trick.
The facts are that no trick or magic statement will get you where you want and keep you there.
The oldest one; “I need more money or I’ll leave”, will get you either fired or a promise of future raise or an immediate raise while the organization looks to replace their “Traitor”. An organization might treat you badly, but when they feel they have been treated badly, all rules are off.
The most glaring mistake here is using “I NEED more money”. People don’t get paid (Typically) for their NEEDS, it is supposed to be for what they can, have, or will accomplish for the organization. The following is applicable where the raise is NOT automatic (Union) or a salary is proscribed for everyone doing the same job, and all are being paid the same. When that is the case, the following could apply to lobby for a promotion or position upgrade.
So, here are the suggestions:
1) Look back on your last year: what have you accomplished FOR the company? Have you gone OVER and BEYOND the base expectations of your position? Prove it. Document it, which is what you should be doing all along. Most people do not. You need to build your case. That case needs to be beyond a doubt.
2) IF you have NOT done work (results) that be considered REMARKABLE or Beyond Expectations, set a goal of 6 months to do so. Then ramp up your performance to assure you have things to talk about in 6 months. Make sure you ask for and know what results in your job would be considered Remarkable or Great (not for a raise, but for recognition). Live with the FACT that you may have done a pretty okay job (in your mind) but, to get a raise you may have to do a REMARKABLE job. It is the recession and most companies still don’t have bucks to throw around, many are still trying to make up for the losses they took over the course of the last two years.
3) Go talk to HR. Yes, really. Make sure the HR person will keep things confidential (rare, but doable). Do NOT ask for a raise. HR does not have the authority. Ask what you can do to become more valuable. Sort out the “Corporate Speak” (Mumbo jumbo stuff about “being a good corporate citizen”) and get down to expectations. Make sure you set the tone with what YOU can accomplish for THEM. Don’t look for a handout, or a guarantee, or even a semi-promise. Remember the Kennedy speech “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”. It works, even though it didn’t in the USA. We increased welfare by about 100X after and during the Kennedy era.
Getting a raise is actually fairly simple: Do more for the company than is easy. Advertise that you are, and that you have done so. Don’t expect someone to see it and reward it. It is kindergarten. Don’t expect it after a week, a month, or even a quarter. 6 months minimum.
As Larry says: “They call it work for a reason.” Don’t act like a raise (or a job) is an entitlement. And for goodness sake, don’t whine and expect to get a raise. You’ll get a pink slip.