Getting a pay rise in your performance appraisal

Colette Sexton, news correspondent at The Sunday Business Post, on how to use your performance appraisal to request a pay rise.


I previously outlined how to beat the feeling of dread before a performance appraisal but what if you aren’t dreading it at all? What if you’re expecting a nice salary increase following a year of hard work? That’s great, but do not expect your boss to throw money at you as soon as you walk in the door of the meeting. This a game and you will have to learn how to play it.  

A performance review can be the perfect opportunity to ask for a pay rise or to negotiate one, according to Maureen Lynch, a director at recruitment company Hays Ireland. However, you must have a strong case highlighting why you feel that the timing is appropriate and why you have earned an increase.

“When reviewing your key performance indicators, focus on those that illustrate your leadership skills or further skills that you feel contribute to the role that you’re seeking. Quantify your achievements where possible and be able to cite the benefits of your work to the organisation,” Maureen said.

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While you might have an idea of what you want to get across in the meeting, Maureen said it is important to practice what you want to say beforehand.

“You want to sound confident but relaxed, and the best way to do this is to know what you want to say,” she said.

Have a good idea of what your salary expectations are. If it all goes well, your boss will agree to an increase and if so, you can expect a question about how much of a pay rise you think you deserve.

Talk to others in your industry to get an estimated ballpark figure of what people in similar roles are making. When you and your boss settle on an agreed amount, make sure that you confirm when you will be placed on this higher salary. Do not assume it is an immediate increase. Your employer might not implement it until the following month or even the following quarter. Agree on a date so there is no confusion.

There is also a chance that your boss might deny your request for a pay increase or promotion. “If this is the case, respond graciously and use the opportunity to ask how you can prepare for future promotions,” Maureen said. It can dash your confidence to hear no, but no now does not mean no eternally. Keep asking and you will get there eventually.

Of course, performance appraisals are not just about salary increases.

“A performance appraisal is a time to be open and honest. It is not just for a manager to give feedback to the employee but in fact should be a two-way conversation,” she said.

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It can be a good time to request additional resources, more one-on-one time with your manager or better workplace facilities. So make sure to use this time with your boss to your advantage.

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