I know the economy is bad, but what is the best way to ask for a raise if I feel I deserve it?

It is a challenging time to ask for more money. Many companies have instituted hiring and salary freezes and many more have cut salaries and staff.

It is a challenging time to ask for more money. Many companies have instituted hiring and salary freezes and many more have cut salaries and staff. Understand where your company is in the financial continuum before you approach a compensation discussion.

Make sure you have a strong business case for why you deserve a raise, and realize you might have to do more for more. Identify voids in the organization and offer to contribute in an expanded way.

Also, keep an open mind when it comes to the definition of a raise. There are many perks or benefits that your employer might be able to offer in lieu of salary, such as comp time, a flexible work schedule, or a telecommuting option.

Understand if incentive-based compensation is available to you. Business development and marketing are in full gear at most companies. Perhaps you can contribute and be compensated as new business closes.

The bottom line is to be realistic and flexible. Your employer will appreciate your understanding and reward it when the money is available for salary increases.

Lisa Throckmorton is the EVP at SpeakerBox Communications.

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