How do you respond when your employee asks for a raise? Your first reaction, regardless of whether you think the employee deserves the raise, should be curiosity. Dick Grote, performance management consultant and author of How to Be Good at Performance Appraisals. suggests a “simple, three-word sentence”: Tell me more. “The objective is to get enough information that you can then explore whether it’s an appropriate request.” Remaining neutral, explain that you will look into the matter: “Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I want to give it careful consideration. I’ll get back to you within two weeks.” You want to “buy yourself as much time as you can” to do research and talk to the appropriate people, says Dillon.

Acknowledge the person’s courage. Be attuned to less-direct requests. Evaluate the arguments. Know the limits. Chart a path forward.

Principles to Remember


– Treat the person with respect throughout the process, even if you think a raise is undeserved
– Acknowledge the courage it took to make the request
-Press your manager or HR to grant an increase for someone you believe deserves it


– Say yes or no right away; instead, ask for more information
-Grant the request without making clear that it was earned and that you now have higher expectations for the person
-Try to blame your inability to grant the request on higher-ups: take responsibility even when you disagree with the decision

Harvard Business Review- How To Respond When Your Employee Asks for a Raise by Amy Gallo