Dear People Ops:
I was promoted to a different position at my job. I was given a small raise but the position requires a lot of additional work. I am given new projects often. I technically work for 3 different departments. How do I go about asking for a higher salary? I work in a non profit. My boss told me to come back to her in a year to discuss. It has been a year.
A promotion is a reward at the end of a long rat race, but it is also the start of a new race. Below is my award-winning (not really) patent-pending (I joke) 12-Month Checklist to Kick Butt at Work – And Get You Paid to guide you through it all. Let’s start at the beginning.
Start with expressing your appreciation to your boss for the opportunity. You don’t know what went on behind the scenes to make this promotion happen, and it’s likely your boss went to bat for you. Thank them! Next, get granular about what your new responsibilities are. You want to be clear on what is expected in the new role so you can rock it 100%. An added benefit: hashing out the details collaboratively with your boss will get you both on the same page which will help you in discussing your new salary.
A good boss will offer a raise with any promotion – you're taking on more responsibility, so it’s logical for more money to follow. If this is the case, again express appreciation but ask for a few days to think it over and do your research to make sure it’s fair. If a raise is not offered, ask for one! Try this: ”with the new and increased responsibilities this promotion entails, I’d like to discuss a raise.”
There are plenty of resources online (like here and here) about negotiating promotions and raises; I'll leave it to them to explain further. But in a nutshell, do your research on what the industry standard is for your new role. Also, to advocate for a raise effectively, you need to demonstrate your value to the company. The good news, your company has already done that for you by offering you a promotion! Use that to your advantage when advocating for more money.
Finally, it is important to remember that you are in the strongest position before you accept a job offer or promotion. Once you accept, you have significantly less leverage. So, while expressing gratitude, be sure you are getting what you deserve before saying yes.
Okay, you’ve negotiated a great salary and accepted your new position. Woohoo! Now it’s time to make sure everything is on track. Always check in with your boss periodically for feedback. Many companies are moving toward the concept of continuous feedback over the yearly performance review. If your company already has a process in place for frequent check-ins with your boss, use it. If not, ask for a check-in meeting every three months.
Three months after a promotion is a great time to discuss your performance in the new role. Feedback now is early enough for you to double down on positive things and course correct problem areas.
You can also bring up anything that turned out to be different than what you discussed during your promotion conversation three months ago – e.g., more work than anticipated – and possible solutions.
Now would be a good time to bring up your professional development goals. Your manager won’t know, unless you tell them, how you want your career to grow. Mention one aspect of your new role you really enjoy, and ask for the opportunity to take on more work in that area if the opportunity arises.
Now is also the time to get real about any issues – either the same ones you brought up three months ago, or ones that have developed since then. Push your manager for a solution to these issues, making it clear how they’re impacting your ability to contribute to the company.
Finally, I'm a firm believer that asking for a raise should never surprise your supervisor. Now is the time to bring up the possibility of a raise at your year anniversary. You'll need to use facts: "when we discussed this promotion six months ago it was with the understanding I'd be managing Jim and Sarah. I'm now managing Jim, Sarah, Miguel, Mike and Phillip. I feel my salary no longer reflects my responsibilities and workload, and I’d like to discuss a raise in the next six months.” Or, if there are no new circumstances, “if I continue performing the way I am now in this role, is it reasonable to expect a raise at my year anniversary?”
Give your boss time to plan for your raise. Remember they also have a boss they have to answer to and a budget they have to balance. And, if they say a raise is unlikely, follow up. Asking for actionable steps ensures you can effectively advocate for that raise at your year anniversary.
The nine-month marker is the time to check in and make sure you're on course from the six-month conversation. If a raise was discussed then, confirm nothing has changed. If you were given action steps to make a raise happen, review what you've done in the three months since then. Be sure to remind your boss that you hope to check in at your year anniversary about what you discussed during this meeting, so they can be prepared.
Now’s the time for the ground work you've laid throughout the year to pay off. You're prepared for your one year conversation to both highlight how successful you've been in your new role, and why a raise is deserved. As nothing will come as a surprise to your boss, there’s a good chance they’ll be prepared with that much-deserved raise, and recognition for your hard work.
Lastly, for readers of this week's submission who are already nearing their year anniversary and don’t have the time to follow this checklist, you can still implement the themes. Meet with your manager and express appreciation for your promotion and highlight the successes you’ve had since then. If applicable, mention any disconnect between the original promotion and your actual responsibilities at this point. And finally, ask for that raise. You deserve it.
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