Lately I’ve encountered a few people who’ve shared with me that they want to ask their bosses for either a pay raise or a promotion. Perhaps, being the end of summer, peoples’ minds revert back to work and career. Whether you are seeking more responsibility, more training and qualifications, a pay raise or a promotion – there is a right way to go about it and then, there is what everyone else does. Whenever this topic comes up I ask them, “What will you do and say when you’ll speak with your boss?” It’s a rhetorical question of course, because most people might have formulated in their mind why they think they deserve a pay or responsibility increase but few articulate it when it comes time to talk to the boss.
You need to lay the ground-work, or set the stage before you make your move. Just asking for something isn’t going to get you what you want, no matter how entitled you may or may not be.
I want to share with you the right way to go about it because it is never just about asking for something on a whim with no plan or pre-meditation, which is what most people do. If you act no different than everyone else, you’ll be treated like everyone else. At least that’s what your boss thinks unless you provide evidence to the contrary.
There is a simple formula you should follow that will vastly improve your chances of success in gaining what you seek. I love the Feature-Accomplishment-Benefit formula presentation method. I consider it the cornerstone to any goal-oriented work effort by which you wish to sway people toward your thinking. It’s not a ploy or a game; it is a reasonable and professional way to bring you closer to what you, yourself, feel you’ve earned.
I could go on and on about this method because it is so useful in many aspects of business. But to simplify it for the sake of a short article, think of it this way: “Feature” just means what you’ve been doing, assuming you’ve been doing a good job for your employer. “Accomplishment” translates to just that; what have you accomplished in addition to your normal job functions. I am assuming that you have and are performing well, which is why you want to ask for more money or responsibility. And the “Benefit” part is what your accomplishment has done to affect the team or company in a positive way.
So think about it -- before you ask for something more or new from your boss, you’re setting it up so that you can remind and/or justify why you have earned what you are seeking. Consider that if you follow the formula that I describe, you are giving your boss less wiggle room to wave you off because you are reminding them of your value as a good employee – you’re already half-way to getting what you seek because you’ve shared why you probably do deserve consideration at the very least. Win or lose you have demonstrated that you are serious. Does it work every time, nope. But it beats the hell out of, “um, I want more money, can I get a raise?”
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