In April alone, the US experienced a record increase in the unemployment levels, which wiped out about ten years of growth.
If you still happen to have a job at this time, it is reasonable to feel like you are one of the lucky ones – and a raise should be out of the question.
That is not true, though.
The pandemic might be ravaging, but you might still be in a prime position to ask for a raise. If you are, why not ask for one?
Tips to Ask for A Raise During This Pandemic
You deserve the raise – as you have deduced from the above – but will you get it?
That boils down to how you ask for it and how you position your offer also. That’s why we have put together the following steps and tips to get you going.
Timing is Key
Even when the economy was in a better place, the timing was key to asking for a raise or doing most things at work. We don’t see why that should change right now.
When we discuss timing, we mean being aware of:
- Times of the year when your company is most likely to dole out promotions and revised benefit packages
- How recent your impact on the company’s growth is
- Current issues being debated in the company. If a capital-intensive project has just been approved, for example, the company might not want to stretch itself too thin with a raise.
- And much more.
Depending on your company, you are in the best place to determine if the timing is right at all. When that checks out, move on to the next stage.
Build Your Case
We have said this before, and we will repeat it:
You will most likely not get what you deserve in the corporate environment if you do not ask for it. Even if you had worked for it, it never hurts to ask for it also.
Now, this ask is not a one-time thing. You have to be methodical about it because it is not every time you ask for a raise and get it on the spot.
Never make your case about the pandemic, personal finances, or problems you are trying to solve. 99% of the time that will never work.
Track your performance and create a file for how it has jumped in recent months. You are being paid to do that job, so seeing how your performance has been stellar alone is not enough. When you can tie that performance to your KPIs and how you have helped the company grow, too, you have a stronger case.
Part of building your case is also knowing who to talk to beforehand.
Identify your networks in the company and reach out to them. This could be your immediate boss or supervisor. Know that they will most likely be contacted regarding your performance and request anyway, so why not have them on your side before then?
Schedule the Meeting
You cannot just walk into anyone’s offices these days to have this talk with them. Now that we are all working from home, schedule your meetings around when the decision-maker(s) will be most likely to take it.
You also don’t have to give a specific date and time. An email stating that you would like to discuss your performance and benefits at a time of their convenience will be sufficient. With that, they have the room to come up with a time that they’ll be free to talk with you.
Note that some bosses might take the room you have given them to choose and run with it. To combat this, schedule reminders to go out to them so that they know you are still waiting on them for the meeting to hold.
Know what you want
Nothing makes a raise negotiation fail faster than not knowing what you want.
Okay, you want a raise, but by how much? 10%? 15%? 25%?
If you don’t have a plan in mind, you run the risk of short-selling yourself. When you do that, you have to live with your decision for a long time before you can ask for a revision of the package again. When that happens, you become unhappy in your role knowing that you shot yourself in the foot.
Gather industry data from other professionals in your role and position. Check that against your company’s status so that you know how best to approach the ask. Finally, your sense of personal worth (without bias) should also weigh in on the decision.
Be Prepared to Compromise
Sometimes, a raise is not all about the money.
For example, if you were spending $1,000 on groceries monthly and someone offered to take care of your grocery bills, it is almost like they were giving you a free thousand dollars monthly.
The same can be said for getting a raise.
Your company might not be able to go all the way with the cash increase you want, but you can get better in other ways.
Some of the options that we have seen professionals opt for in the past include, but are not limited to:
- Stock options – most companies have had their stock drop on the back of the pandemic. The markets usually respond with better health when the crises are over, so you can get many stock options and reap the benefits on them when the company picks up again. The best thing about this deal is that you didn’t have to buy the stocks yourself anyway, so it’s a win still.
- Benefits – how about more paid holidays for you and your family within the year? Or, now that you are working from home, the company takes care of your lunch orders. It might not look like much, but those monies add up to something substantial yearly. There are other benefits (health, property insurance, exclusive memberships, etc.) that you can get from your negotiations.
- Promotion – even if you earn more but are in a smaller role, your growth as a professional could be stalled. Entering a new position and gaining the skills/ experiences could set you up for a better-paying job with another employer in the future. See it as a current investment into yourself.
PS Not everyone is looking for a compromise. If the salary increase is what you are gunning for, make that known to your employers from the start.
“No” is not Final
After all that we have said, there are still a variety of reasons why you might end up hearing ‘no.’
This might not even have anything to do with your performance or request. Such instances are painful, but it doesn’t mean you can never ask again.
Learn from what your boss/ manager gives as the reason for the denial. If they don’t venture it, ask as humbly as you can. The aim here is not to be demanding but aggregable (while standing firm where need be). Once you know what the problem is, you can work towards that.
Depending on your relationship with the person you discuss this raise with, it is also not out of place to ask what you need to do for a raise. You know your job description already, so they should not be able to lay out something seemingly unattainable for you.
When you have all that data, you have a chance to make a stronger case when next a discussion of this nature comes up.