British Columbia

Want more money? Here's how to ask, according to workplace psychologist

Asking for a raise can be both a horrifying and rewarding experience, so to make it work, you might need to do a little bit of research, and analyze your boss's personality, according to workplace psychologist Jennifer Newman.

Jennifer Newman says sometimes it takes a little bit of research to ask for a raise

Asking for a raise can be a horrifying experience — but it can be well worth it, according to workplace psychologist Jennifer Newman. And there's a few tricks to make negotiations run smoothly. (Shutterstock)

You'd be hard-pressed to find a single working person who would mind getting a raise — but asking for one can be a bit tricky.

Do you storm your boss's office after a hard days' work, send a casual e-mail, or just put faith in the universe that sooner or later you'll get your due?

Workplace psychologist Jennifer Newman joined host Rick Cluff on CBC's The Early Edition to tackle the oftentimes horrifying topic of asking for a raise — and shared her own tips on how best to go about it.

Rick Cluff: It's so difficult for some people to ask for a pay raise, why is that?

Jennifer Newman: Some don't know how to start the conversation, others are afraid — they worry the conversation won't end well, or they may lose their job if they ask, or pushing for a raise will alienate their boss.

Sometimes it's tied to self-esteem, or a lack of confidence.

Problems with self-worth can translate into reluctance to ask for what you're worth. Other times, workers are concerned they aren't good negotiators when it comes to their salary.

How can a worker overcome their fear and dive into this kind of conversation?

It's all in the planning and preparation. It's important to feel confident.

Workplace psychologist Jennifer Newman says think about your boss's personality type when you're considering asking for a raise. (Jennifer Newman )

Start by benchmarking — that's figuring out what your position is worth in other organizations.

You can compare yourself to other employees inside your company, but be sure to look at what the market will pay for a similar position in other places.

Make sure you are comparing apples to apples though — your job description should match the positions you are comparing yourself to.

Find out if your pay is on par, less or a bit more ... this can save you from an embarrassing moment. But, if you find out your pay is below market, this can give you the confidence and evidence to proceed.

What's the next step after you do your homework?

Think about your boss's personality, it'll help in the negotiation.

Research shows if extroverts negotiate with other extroverts, things tend to go better. The same is true if introverts negotiate with introverts.

In the case of getting a raise, opposites don't attract. Also, if you tend to be agreeable by nature, you'll have an easier time if your boss is that way too.

If you are a bit disagreeable and your boss is as well, you'll also have an easier time.

So what happens if you have to negotiate with a boss who is opposite — say you're an agreeable sort, and your boss is a hard-nosed, competitive type?

If you are opposites, it means you'll have to work harder to find and express positives during the negotiation.

You'll need to mirror your boss's personality as much as you can.  Let's say your boss tends to be cold and thinks everyone has a hidden agenda, and you're the opposite.

Try to approach the negotiation from the same frame of reference as your blunt boss.

You can say things like: "You probably think I'm being self-serving here and it's true to a certain extent," or "I do need to feel appreciated with money, not just a thank you."

If your boss is introverted, tone down the effusiveness — it'll bowl over an introverted boss.

Introverted employees negotiating with extroverted bosses will need to push themselves to be more outgoing.

Practice some chit-chat topics to start the conversation with an extroverted boss.

If your boss is disagreeable, spare her the small talk and get right to the point. It'll stretch you a bit, but it's worth it and could net you a pay raise.

Isn't it a bit manipulative to act like your boss in a negotiation? Shouldn't you be yourself? Besides, your boss will notice if you change yourself all of a sudden...

Maybe it's a cheap rationalization on my part … but we have to tap into different aspects of ourselves to get along with the vast array of characters we deal with at work.

Channeling an aspect of yourself that can relate to introverts when you are an extrovert is good.

You may get a raise and learn how to make room for quieter people to have a say.

If you tend to be agreeable and you practice being disagreeable with a crabby boss, it won't bother her — she'll probably like it when you quickly get to the point.

If you're a grumpy-type and have to be a bit more agreeable and friendly to get your way, your chummy boss won't mind. You haven't sold your soul, but you may have made your boss's day, and get a pay raise.

With files from CBC's The Early Edition

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: How to ask for a raise at work, according to an expert

now