Career Advice

6 Powerful Tips On Asking For A Raise When A Coworker Quits

As employees’ level of power continues to rise and more positions are reshuffled, employees are looking for ways to increase their level of compensation as well. According to the Wall Street Journal, businesses are having a tougher time retaining employees but that does not mean that employers can simply be held hostage. That’s why so many have started asking for a raise when a coworker quits.

If a colleague quits, it is only natural for a fellow employee to wonder what this means for them. Change is currently in the air and with the help of this guide, it has never been easier for employees to realize their dreams. Be sure to read on and take a closer look at these crucial tips and pointers:

1. Personal Finances Are Just That….Personal!

One of the most common mistakes that is made in these scenarios takes place when the employee makes certain assumptions. When these assumptions are made, the employee will start to believe that their employer cares deeply about their personal finances. The boss is not going to care how long the employee has been there, whether they have leased a new vehicle or whether their rent has started to climb.

The employee needs to ask themselves one very simple question in these instances. What am I bringing to the table? How does my presence directly benefit this company? There are no participation trophies to be had when it comes time to ask for a raise. Asking for a raise when a coworker quits is only natural but these decisions are never going to be based on sympathy or the passage of time. In other words, it is put up or shut up time.

Read More: What to Do When a Coworker With Less Experience Makes More Than You

2. Study The Company’s Performance

Employees who march in after a colleague has left and demanded a raise could be setting themselves up for failure because they have not taken the time to study the company’s performance. If there is no research being done about the culture of the company and its current financial state, you could be made to feel foolish once the conversation is complete. Does the company have the means to support your request?

Don’t assume that this raise request is something that can be handled with ease, especially if no research has been done. If the company does not have the means on hand to support the request, the employee could be wasting their time and their employer’s. The more insight that can be gained into the performance of a company, the better. This gives the employee far more of a leg to stand on once the topic of a raise is being broached.

3. Put Together The Proper Campaign

Alexandra Carter, Columbia Law professor and author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Ask For More: 10 Questions to Negotiate Anything, likens the act of asking for a raise when a coworker quits to a political campaign. This should make all of the sense in the world to you, as you should be asking for your raise during a time when your contributions have been made evident. If you have recently had a poor performance report? This is probably a sign that you need to wait for a little bit.

Carter also advises employees who have already positioned themselves to force employers to crunch the numbers a bit, especially as they relate to turnover. “Turnover is expensive, both in terms of time and money. An employee making $36,000 costs about $12,000 to replace — and if you’re making $150,000? Your company will need to spend $50,000 finding your replacement and bringing them up to speed,” she shares.

That’s not the only advice that she had to offer, either. “Think of it as a political campaign,” she implores. “If performance reviews are in March, you don’t start your campaign then. Put your ask on the table early, while the company is making budget decisions and allocating dollars for the coming fiscal year.”

She also suggests that you speak with those who can put in a good word for you, true advocates that are able to offer actionable advice. Maybe these are people who have insight into management viewpoints, maybe they are fellow employees who can offer advice that is based on their most recent attempts to request a raise. The more voices that are chiming in to call you valuable, the more likely a manager is to hear you out.

4. Presenting The Facts

Asking for a raise when a coworker quits is one of the best ways for an employee to capitalize on their window of opportunity. When a coworker moves on, this is a great chance to an employee to make better of their own situation. You should be focused on the facts at this time if you want to achieve the desired results. This is especially true if your day-to-day routine is going to be affected by the departure in question here.

A boss will always be willing to listen to an employee who is presenting them with facts about the situation. This is not a time to become emotional or make idle threats. Have your job duties grown? Are you consistently considered to be a high performer? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, this means you have a serious case to make.

Those who consistently deliver results are always going to have an easier time in these scenarios. Bonus points for anyone who is recently coming off of a project where they were given the chance to demonstrate their worth more visibly. This ties back into what was said above about treating your salary push as a political campaign.

5. Be Proactive Instead of Reactive

Typically, an employee will at least have some idea that their colleague is on the way out the door. Those who are most successful in securing a raise are going to be proactive instead of reactive. Don’t wait until your fellow employee has already departed. It is time to start positioning yourself for that raise now. This improves your chances of being at the top of the list once the boss is looking to make the necessary financial considerations.

The employee needs to make sure that they have made their interest clear to management as well. That way, it does not look as if you have scrambled to throw your hat into the ring. No one likes an opportunist and if that’s how you come across? This is not going to help your chances. It is also important to reflect on your personal career goals before asking for a raise. The more you know about the opportunities you wish to pursue, the easier it is to pursue them.

“The more you can show your employer, ‘here’s my interest in terms of my long-term future here,’ the more they will want to invest in you,” says Jenn DeWall. The more time that an employee spends expressing their goals, the greater the likelihood of their employer wanting to help them advance them. The last thing that a company wants is to lose someone with a sincere interest in investing themselves in the long-term future of the business.

DeWall also recommends that you keep track of your work accomplishments. This provides you with the evidence that you need to make your request, as well as the confidence. This leads directly to the final point and one of the most important aspects of the equation…

6. Do Not Threaten To Quit

Threatening to quit is a rookie mistake, a piece of advice that you will be given by many well-meaning friends and loved ones. Yes, this may sound good when they say it but does that make a good idea? Absolutely not. No one likes to be given an ultimatum and your boss is certainly not going to enjoy it. In fact, he or she may even begin to feel as if their hand has been forced. This can send the conversation in a direction that you were not hoping for.

This is something that should only be said if you already have a new job offer in hand. If not, it should be avoided at all costs. You may be placed in a position where you are forced to admit that you were bluffing. From there, you may just end up being unemployed anyway. Employees who are looking to employ this sort of strategy will want to make sure that they are prepared for this eventuality.

Final Word

Asking for a raise is incredibly challenging. In fact, Diana Vreeland, the renowned editor of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, is said to have worked for 26 years (!!) without asking for a pay bump. Fear is common but you can push through this by knowing what to say and most importantly of all…..when to say it.

Thanks to this helpful guide, it has never been easier to get started. Asking for a raise when a coworker quits does not have to be a terrifying challenge. It is always in your best interests to ask for exactly what we want in these scenarios. Otherwise, the transition could be far more miserable than expected.

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About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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