What To Do When Your Employee Asks For A Raise

The longer an employee stays with your company, the more likely it is that they’ll approach you about a raise at some point. 

There’s a lot to say about a loyal employee, one who does their job, and helps when asked; the kind of institutional knowledge they carry and the ability to help younger and newer workers is priceless to a manager. 

Of course, as much as you might want to give everyone a big raise whenever they ask, there will undoubtedly be some factors to consider. It’s a delicate situation to negotiate, but it is possible to find a way through that will make everyone content. 


Here’s what to do when asked about a raise: 


Hear them out.

Whether this is a long-tenured employee or someone who’s been on the job less than six months, listen to their argument. Take notes. Don’t react or respond in any outward way if you can help it. They might have some really good points to make, especially in an era where it’s common for people to be hired for one job, but they end up doing things outside their original job description.

Consider the position and the pay.

If you have several employees in the same position, pull up their files and take a look at their job descriptions. Look at how long each has been with the company, in their position, and see what their compensation package looks like. You might be surprised to find some discrepancies or lapses that should be addressed — your employee might be right! You might also find that one of the employees is long overdue for a raise, but it’s not the one doing the asking. Or you might be reminded of a problematic incident that required this particular employee to take additional training, in which case it might be a little premature to increase their pay. 

Discuss it with HR.

If there’s money in the budget to offer this employee a raise, determine how much would be fair. If there isn’t money in the budget now, but there might be in the following quarter, start thinking about how long into the future you can promise this change to your employee. Also, be mindful that if one person gets a raise, you might find a line forming outside your office with others hoping to be as fortunate. That isn’t a deterrent; each case should be handled on an individual basis, and not all employees should be treated to raises at the same rate or frequency. 

Inform your employee in a timely manner.

The longer you take to provide an answer, the longer your employee has to sit and stew with their request. They will understand having to wait a few days, maybe a week, for an answer, but the longer you take to let them know, they might get annoyed and decide it’s better to look for a new job or quit instead of finding out the answer. When you do let them know, discuss the need for discretion and how much you appreciate their respect in keeping this news to themselves (even the best employees might be so happy with their raise that they let the news out, so prepare for that as well). Put the offer in writing and make sure you both sign it, assuming the employee accepts your offer. They might want to try and negotiate a little more, so be prepared for that as well. 


It will be challenging to find someone who stays for years at a job without asking for a pay raise or is willing to remain in a job without a pay increase. It’s good to be prepared for these conversations because you never know when that knock will land on your door. 

If you’re looking to hire more employees or if you’re looking for additional managerial advice on how to navigate tricky situations, call Debbie’s Staffing. Our experts are ready to provide a helping hand or to find some good candidates to help fill any openings your company might have. Call Debbie’s Staffing today, and let’s get started!