You have been in your present job long enough, but are still not offered a better package? Do you feel underpaid and overworked, while the rising living costs in Hong Kong make you nervous? It might be time to wear your negotiating hat and tact to carefully ask for what you deserve. If you’re lucky to have a reasonable boss, she or he would know when it’s time to increase your pay for a job well done. But a successful compensation review doesn’t just start and end with meeting your manager – it needs careful planning and a lot of reasoning. Here’s how you can plan your move to get that compensation hike the smart way. Time your request carefullyTiming is key. No boss in the world is giving your more money, if the economy is on a downward spiral or your company just lost its major client. As you won’t ask very often for a raise, you should make sure the chances are in your favour. Wait for the economy to pick up. But before you do, watch for cost-cutting efforts and other announcements on spending limits. If your company is still struggling, you may want to rethink asking for a raise - right now. Do appropriate researchBefore you hit the employer’s desk make sure you familiarise yourself with your company’s policies and pay practices. If the standard practice is to offer salary increases once a year after an annual review, you are unlikely to receive a raise at any other time. But if your company offers more frequent salary increases, your chances are higher. Also, research the industry mark and pay rates for your job before jumping into any negotiations. Networking with other employees in similar roles or the same industries will help you determine your salary competitiveness. Think again: do you really deserve it?Getting a sudden jump in your compensation is highly unlikely (unless you’ve performed exceedingly well) and you must be realistic with your expectations. Before you approach the situation you must take a step back and ask yourself a few things. How long have you been with the organisation? Why do you deserve a raise? When was your last pay increase? Has your performance justified it? Once you have your answers, do some research into the market to see what similar organisations are offering for a comparable role. Prepare a strong pitch for yourselfAfter gathering all facts that make a strong business case for your compensation, prepare a pitch that demonstrates how you’ve added value to the company. Like for any type of negotiations, you must try to put yourself in the manager’s shoes, and best design your approach accordingly. It’s important to rehearse what you will say. Don’t just do it in your head. Stand in front of a mirror and try to convince yourself. Are you making a strong case? And if your request is still turned downYou must always have a Plan B ready in case your request is rejected. Are there benefits you might accept in place of an increase in salary, such as a bonus or more flexible work hours? If the answer of your boss is still no, be upfront and ask what it will take to shift the answer into a yes. Ask what tasks you can take on, what changes you can make in your job that would lead to that raise. This will show your boss that you are committed to growing within the organisation.