1. Poor Timing
While it’s not a marriage proposal, asking for a raise is an important question.Timing is key! Did you request a raise in June, when the general company policy is to make decisions at the end of the year? Maybe you asked too early in your tenure, or made your request soon after the company had a recall, poor quarterly report, or other bad news. That’s not the only timing problem: while your manager’s bad day shouldn’t affect your raise, a meeting scheduled on a stressful day could be the reason your request was turned down.
Next steps: Ask human resources or co-workers when raises are typically given out, and time your meeting for a low-stress time of day and week.
2. Lack of Company Resources
Sometimes, the reason you don’t get a raise isn’t related to you at all. It’s quite possible that your company isn’t flush with money, and simply doesn’t have room in the budget to give you a raise.
Next steps: How important is the raise to you? And does it seem as though the company finances will turn around? The answer to these questions will determine if you stay put, or use this as a cue to begin a job search.
3.Lack of Performance
Are you exceeding expectations, or simply doing the work outlined in your job description? At many jobs, in order to get a raise, employees need to go above and beyond the basic requirements. If your work is competent, but not stellar, this may be why you didn’t get the raise.
Next steps: Talk to your manger about what she’d like to see from you. Consider how to transform from an ordinary employee to an exceptional one. Keep a list of your big accomplishments, and any praise you receive, and highlight them the next time you request a raise.
4.Failing to Lay Groundwork
On a day-to-day basis at work, do you trumpet every accomplishment, even the most banal? Or, conversely, are you quiet about your triumphs? You should offer evidence for why you’re deserving of a raise in the moment when you make the request, but also lay groundwork in advance. While it’s good to be self-promoting, be cautious about excessive self-promotion, or stealing the spotlight from deserving co-workers, which can work against your request.
Next steps: In one-on-one meetings with your manager, and over email, highlight your accomplishments. Be careful not too overdo: you want to be neither overly modest nor overly boastful.
5.A Personal Request
For most companies, salary is an unemotional calculation, based on the employee’s qualifications, geographic considerations, and competition. If you asked for a raise citing factors in your personal life —increased rent, family-related concerns, etc. —your manager may feel sympathetic. But that’s doesn’t mean you’ve presented a valid argument for a higher salary. The same logic applies for requests based on a co-worker’s salary.
Next steps: Frame your raise ask around the value you provide to the company — rather than detailing your own expenses and needs, point to ways you’ve saved money or added to the company’s revenue.
6.Skipping the Prep Work
Wearing unprofessional clothes, and giving a disjointed, rambling, or off-the-cuff rationale for your raise does not impress. Even if your company doesn’t have much of a dress code, it’s still important to look and act professionally in this moment.
Next steps: Plan talking points, and rehearse ahead of time. Dress to impress: this is a good excuse to break out your interview outfit.
7.You’re a Difficult Employee
Sounds harsh, but if you’re a challenge to work with, a downer in meetings, or a frequent complainer, you may be a problem for your manager, making him or her unwilling to make the case to superiors that you deserve a raise.
Next steps: Evaluate your attitude. How do you present yourself in meetings and everyday occasions around the office? Consider if your complaints and critiques are overshadowing your good work.
8.Employers Fear a Wave of Requests
Many companies can be fearful of giving out raises, since granting one request could lead to others.
Next steps: This puts you in a tough position. You can mention that you’ll be discrete about your raise, and also make the point that your raise should be evaluated on its own merits. However, if this is the response you get, it may be a sign that it’s a good time to kick off a job search.
9.Your Salary Is Already Market-Standard
If you didn’t do research as to the typical salary range for your position before requesting a raise, your manager may deny the request, reasoning that you’re already getting the amount you deserve.
Next steps: Do some salary research, at sites such as Glassdoor.com, Payscale.com, or Salary.com.
10.You Didn’t Ask!
While it’s certainly possible that a raise will appear in your paycheck before you request it, that’s not often going to be the case. If you feel that you are deserving of a raise, ask for it.
Next steps: Read about how to request a pay raise, and schedule some time with your manager.