It seems like software teams are working harder than ever these days—but the pay doesn’t always match the scope of the job. Loading more pressure and responsibilities on employees without adequate compensation is a perfect recipe for disgruntlement, yet it seems as if more and more companies these days are doing exactly that. So how do you successfully ask for a pay raise as your responsibilities increase? The trick is timing, and a little bit of finesse.

Polish Your Soft Skills

“My experience with tech professionals, and with others, is that the money discussion is a people problem,” said Brian Braudis, executive coach and president of Braudis Group Consultants. “We have so much baggage about money, so it’s best to prepare as you would for public speaking.” In other words, rehearse and prepare before your big discussion with management about money, with a focus on the following:
  • Center on the here and now
  • Always stay positive
  • Avoid talking about how long you’ve worked at the company
  • Don’t give a long recap of your salary history
“Concentrate on how you’re growing as you help the company grow,” Braudis suggested. Don't tell your employer how you do the work of three people, and make sure you don’t compare your job performance to that of others in the office. “Focus on positive, forward looking approaches, how you’re helping your organization create a better future, how you enjoy it, and how it energizes you.”

Explain Your Value

Instead of merely asking for more money, ask how the additional responsibilities translate into an additional reward for the increase in value you’re delivering to the company. Explain your importance to the organization, said Bob Kantor, executive coach and president of Kantor Consulting Group: “It’s smart to say something like ‘I am thrilled to increase the value I give to the company.’” Express curiosity about a boost in salary, and don’t make a demand. “That leaves the conversation open for later if you don’t get what you ask for,” Kantor add. It’s okay to end the conversation by asking about the possibility of a follow-up talk.

Believe in Yourself

Remember: Relax. “The more comfortable you are, the more likely you are to have it be an effective conversation,” Kantor said. Engage your employer in their office; don’t trivialize the conversation by attempting to do it in an elevator or kitchen space. Whatever happens, make sure to own the outcome, even when it doesn’t turn out in your favor. “If you decide you’re willing to stay, then get over your disappointment and deliver killer results,” Kantor added. If you can't do that, then it’s time to move on.

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