What's The Best Time Of Year To Ask For A Raise At Work (& Actually Get It)?

There are a few workplace conversations that nobody wants to have. Sometimes, it's your coworker talking in great detail about their favorite show that you don't care for. Other times, it's a scarier one where you have to admit to your boss you messed up and can't get your work completed on time. Eventually, you can learn how to deal with these situations the right way. You come up with excuses to dodge the conversation with your coworker. You get to know your boss, manage your workload better, and learn to ask for more time well in advance instead of waiting for the last moment when you'll get the worst reaction.

But one stressful conversation you can never feel prepared for, regardless of how many times you've had it, is asking for a raise. Generally, it's hard to ask for things we deserve in life, but nothing is quite as hard as asking for a raise because it's often a need more than a want. From the moment we recognize a bigger paycheck is a necessity, we begin to consider everything that would make the conversation go smoothly.

We consider the best way to broach the conversation with our boss. We think of the reasons why we deserve a raise. We ask our friends and family for advice. Once everything's ready to go, we find ourselves stalling because it almost seems as if there's no right time to ask for one, when in reality, there are certain times when your request might be well-received.

Here are the best times to ask for a raise

If you're looking for a time when your employer might be more financially receptive to the idea of a raise, then the end of the year is the way to go. Before the new year begins, companies usually make changes to their budget, so it makes sense to ask then to see if they could squeeze you in. However, you should only ask for a raise at this time if the company has had a good year. If the company's facing financial losses, they're considering every little expense they can cut down on to keep the business going, which means you'll most likely get shot down.

On the contrary, if you've contributed something to a thriving company, your boss might be happy to give you a raise to motivate you to keep up the good work through the following year. For a better response, you should wait until your yearly performance review because it'll allow you to explain your tangible contributions when your company is willing to take them into account for a raise. Also, read the company policy to check out the normal time for raises and ensure you put in your request in time. 

As a company grows and changes, you might be tasked with more responsibilities than the ones mentioned in your job description. If you've demonstrated your ability to do the extra tasks efficiently, it's only fair to get compensated for your extra work.

Make the conversation go better with these tips

Research can make all the difference when asking for a raise. Look into the average competitive salaries for your job, figure out how your company has been doing through the year, and ask your coworkers how much they're getting paid. Treat the conversation with the respect it deserves, and ask your boss for a one-on-one instead of unexpectedly bombarding them during their lunch break. When asking for a raise, avoid bringing up personal reasons why you could use the extra money. Instead, focus on why it makes financial sense to the company. 

It's easy to be overrun by anxiety and forget important things in a high-stress situation like this. To get your point across concisely, present your achievements in writing. This can also make the process easier because your boss will only have to show the paper to higher management to help them understand your point of view. Remember that contributions don't have to be sales-driven to be quantified. As career coach Corinne Mills explained to Totaljobs, "Perhaps you have exceeded targets by X amount or attracted Y number of new clients to the business. Maybe you have implemented a new process or saved the department money by going outside the remit of your role."

Have a firm number in mind instead of deciding on it based on your boss' reaction. If they're unwilling to give you a monetary raise, try asking for extra paid time off, work-from-home days, or other benefits.