It can be an awkward conversation. You don’t want to come across the wrong way, but also feel strongly that the ask is important. For many employees, asking for a raise is a confusing and intimidating process. Fear or insecurity can get the best of even the most confident employees.
And is it even biblical? Would it be more “spiritual” for a Christian to accept a lower salary?
Hopefully this will be helpful and informative, providing clarity to what the Bible says, and a few simple tips for having the conversation.
What the Bible Says
Many people are confused on the question of whether riches or poverty are indicators of a person’s spirituality. Let me tell you clearly – not necessarily. Having more or less money doesn’t automatically make you a “better Christian”. There have been some dangerously false theologies created around these ideas, and they are far from accurate.
God created the rich and poor alike. First Samuel 2:7 says, “The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and He exalts”. Regardless of the size of your paycheck, you and I are called to be faithful stewards of what we do have. So don’t forgo asking for a raise because you think less money makes you more spiritual.
The Bible does tell employers to pay their workers fairly. Look at James 5:4, “Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.”
So if you’ve been faithful at your job and believe that your work is valuable to your company, you may be eligible to ask for a raise.
Step One: Know Your Market
Romans 4:4 says, “Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.” So ask yourself, would your employer be obligated to pay for the kind, and quality of work you do?
Do some research to find out what employers typically pay for your skill set and level of experience. These calculations can vary based on regions, so be aware that if you live in Boise, Idaho, you may not make what someone doing your job in New York City is making. It costs more to live in NYC than it does in Boise. Check out Salary.com. Payscale, or Glassdoor to begin your research.
If you find in your research that you’re underpaid compared to your regional counterparts, you can make the case that your work is valued at a higher rate than you’re currently being compensated. Be sure to take your experience and expertise into consideration.
If, instead, you find that you’re at the top of your market, that means it’s time to increase your skills.There are numerous ways for you to do this in today’s digital age. I’m a big fan of MOOCS (Massive Open Enrollment Courses) through organizations like Coursera or EdX. Become a voracious reader, and start praying about opportunities to increase your knowledge.
Step Two: Know Your Targets
Luke 16:10 says, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” In any job, an employee is responsible for certain tasks. To ask for an increase in salary, you need to show that you’re doing the job in front of you.
Can you illustrate the impact of your work? If you’re in sales, your numbers should prove your point. It’s crucial for you to enter any salary negotiation with tangible data to support how you meet and excel in the tasks required of your position.
Employers LOVE data, so do them a favor and prepare some to present to them. Keep a daily record of what you do so you can show the scope of your work. Compare your job description to job descriptions similar to yours to point out that you’re doing more than is expected in other organizations.
Step Three: Tell Your Story
Now that you know how you stack up compared to others, are able to illustrate your contribution to the company, tell your unique story. The Muse recommends that you prepare a one-page “brag sheet” – I prefer to call it a “value sheet”. Essentially, it will help you identify how you are delivering results for the company. A good framework for making your pitch is “Not only this… but that…”
LifeHacker notes: “If you were to write it out as a formula, it might look like this: ‘Not only do I have [all the standard requirements that everyone else has] + but I also possess [the following unique traits that make me a better candidate and thus worth more money].’ Basically, you want to consider (and capture on paper) what makes you different.”
List out traits you bring to the table that are unique, valuable, and complementary. If your supervisor knows these skills will be assets in the future, or will allow them to save time and money, you’re likely to get a good response.
Step Four: Know What You’ll Take
With proper preparation, you can be confident to go into a salary negotiation. This should help take emotion out of what can be a difficult ask for many of us. But you need to know if you’re willing to walk away if the answer is no.
It’s possible that your employer won’t respond to your request or will counter with a lower number. They may offer to take some work off your plate or sweeten the deal with more vacation time or a flexible schedule. It’s worth considering what you value – sometimes vacation time is better than money! With your research in hand, you should know when it’s time to walk away and go to the next level in another company.
Step Five: Know Your Design
Regardless of how your negotiations turn out, it’s imperative to know how you’re designed. God created each of us with unique gifts and talents, and when we can connect our design with our daily work, we are able to find great satisfaction.
Crown’s Career Direct assessment helps you accomplish this. It looks at four key areas of your life – personality, skills, interests, and values – to give you recommendations of career paths that are best-suited for you. The entire assessment is grounded in Scripture and has transformed the lives of many.
Remember that it’s not man you’re working for, but the Lord (Colossians 3:23-24). I hope your negotiations go well and you find satisfaction in your work!