How to Ask For a Pay Increase – Ask HR Bartender

According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses provide 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs. They account for 54% of all U.S. sales. Needless to say, they are important.

Chances are you, or someone you know, might works for a small business. And like this reader, they might have a question about pay increases.

Hello Sharlyn. My questions is: How would I start a conversation about a pay raise with my boss, who also happens to be the owner of the company? Thank you and looking forward to hear from you soon.

I totally understand this reader’s dilemma. I’ve seen plenty of small business owners pay their staff and not pay themselves. Or the owner is getting a paycheck, but giving employees pay increases means less profit for the business. But business owners are open to having discussions about pay. To help me answer this question, I reached out to three small business owners to get their advice.

Mark Goldman, CPA is a principal at MGR Accounting Recruiters in San Antonio, Texas. They are not only a top-notch recruiting firm but they make it a priority to give back to the local community.

“My thoughts: 1) Pick the right day & time.  A time when things are going well. 2) Back the request up with reasons other than ‘I just need it’.  Show how you are doing more work, able to take on more complex tasks, or have grown in your value to the organization. 3) Start and/or end with a statement about how much you appreciate working there in the first place.  A little flattery, as long as it is genuine, usually helps.”

Kimberly Martinez is CEO and co-founder of BooJee Beads. They manufacture fashion lanyards. If you’re looking for a stylish way to display your company ID, be sure to check them out. Kimberly recently had the same experience that the reader mentioned.

“I recently had a great experience with an employee who handled the situation beautifully! She had her facts together in a written presentation – the date of her last raise and the increased responsibilities she had assumed. She highlighted the areas where she felt she exceeded expectations, and she had done research on the salary range for comparable positions. She took responsibility for getting what she wanted and she did the work for me. After a good discussion, I agreed to increase her base pay. It was a win-win!”

Ricardo Trillos is general manager and chocolatier at Cao Chocolates. I can personally tell you the chocolates here are simply fabulous. Especially the dark chocolate sea salt bar. And they do ship so be sure to visit their website.

“The best way to start that conversation is to review how business inside the company is doing as far as productivity and any other skills the employee offers to the company. I would recommend to start the conversation including the “Why” of the pay raise and also making note the engagement of the employee with the business. That always makes business owners think about employee retention and review of benefits.”

My thanks to Ricardo, Kimberly and Mark for sharing their expertise. Whether you work for a small company or a big organizations, there are pearls of wisdom in here for anyone planning to ask their boss for more money.

Oh, and P.S.- Speaking about pay increases. Check out my segment from Friday on HuffPostLive talking about salary negotiations!