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Conventional rules of etiquette call for a thank-you note when you receive a gift or when you receive a nice gesture from a friend. Although a salary increase isn't a gift, you wouldn't be totally out of line if you penned a handwritten thank-you note to your boss once you receive your raise. It's a personal and genteel way of letting your boss know how much you appreciate his support of your professional endeavors and the reward for your job performance.
A Discretionary Move
Private-sector companies aren't required to give you a raise, regardless of how many years you've worked for the company, the outstanding contributions you made or how many times you reached another rung on the career ladder. Public-sector employment is different. Based on grades, levels and strict salary schedules, employees may receive periodic raises so there's uniformity and equity. When private-sector employers give salary increases, it's a discretionary move, because they're certainly not mandated to do so.
Long Time Overdue or Too Little
If your salary increase has been in the works for weeks or even months, saying "thank you" to your boss or writing a thank-you note is a kind and professional gesture. Choose your words carefully, however. Avoid saying something like, "At last, my raise becomes effective and I'm glad you finally pushed it through the HR channels." Wording like that may sound like a backhanded compliment for the hoops your boss may have jumped through to get the approval for your raise. The same is true for a raise you believe isn't enough, based on your performance and other factors that affect your pay. Be gracious and simply say, "Thank you for the recent salary increase. I looking forward to greater financial rewards as my tenure with the company increases."
Generous Bump in Pay
Write a thank-you note that expresses deep appreciation for a salary increase that's more than what you expected – especially if it's above what you asked for or what the compensation structure allows. You needn't go overboard and gush about the amount, but you could say, "I deeply appreciate the salary increase you gave me. I'm pleased that you and the organization value my achievements and contributions with such a generous pay raise. Thank you."
When Times Are Tough
As much as they would like to do so, many employers aren't in a position to give salary raises. They may try to recognize your performance in other ways, but if your employer's is experiencing a downturn in business, yet still finds a way to reward you, a thank-you is in order. In these circumstances, you could write, "Thank you for the recent salary increase. I appreciate your confidence and generosity, particularly during a time when the organization has had some economic setbacks. Also, thank you for the opportunity for allowing me to be a part of your team."
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.