It is fair to say that the past year has been difficult for some companies, many people have lost their jobs, companies shutting down, but that does not mean you can not negotiate a pay rise if the circumstances are right. You may have had to take on more responsibilities throughout the pandemic, so you may be well within your rights to speak to your boss about giving you a pay increase.
One of the leading global providers of digital coaching, Ezra, has provided us with a helpful guide on when the best time to ask for a higher salary is and how to go about it. Ezra has over 50 years of experience coaching in 66 countries, they provide the highest quality professional coaching using industry-leading app-based technology.
Founder of Ezra, Nick Goldberg, commented:
“While it’s a tricky time for employers due to covid, the world of work hasn’t entirely ground to a halt. If you think your work merits a pay rise, you’re well within your rights to ask for one. We recommend you give careful consideration to the timing of asking for a raise, while you need to act with confidence. It doesn’t make you unprofessional to ask for more money providing you do it in the right way. We all have bills to pay, so it’s only right for employers to recognise your market value in the workplace.”
Knowing your worth is essential
"In any given situation, knowing your value means feeling that you are an equal with anyone you interact with: clients, bosses, colleagues, or friends. You are not a supplicant". Source: Management30.com
You may start off by doing some in-depth research on salaries in your sector, you can use salary comparison websites. Having data to help support a more successful negotiation and can be found by using Indeed Salaries. Engage with recruitment and HR specialists to figure out the current market salaries benchmark and how much you should be earning based on your current occupation and experience in your field. It is always good if you can gather some hard evidence on why you deserve a pay rise, such as K.P.I's (Key Performance Indicators), sales targets reached, new clients, brought to the company, number of contracts secured and signed, any important projects and goals met.
Timing is of the essence
When and how you ask are just as crucial in this type of situation. Choosing the right time to ask can also make a huge difference in the answer you will receive. Be savvy: Pick a day and time where everybody's energy is on a high and when your company or team has just secured a big client and are in a celebratory mood, something significant enough to stack the odds in your favour.
"If possible, find out when your company plans its budget, to ensure you’re asking at a reasonable time", Goldberg added.
However, avoid asking for a pay rise if you are new in your job or if your last increase was less than a year ago. You need to let your hard work and performance speak for themselves before approaching your employer with new financial demands.
Confidence is important when asking for a pay rise, your employer may not be convinced you deserve a higher salary if you are not either. The worst thing that can happen is that your boss might say NO. So, you have nothing to lose if not, you might regret later not having tried. This matter should be approached in a professional manner: "Speak slowly and deliberately and reinforce your points. You may feel rude asking for a pay rise, but it is okay to want a financial reward for your hard work".
Do your homework and keep your receipts
Research has found you are never too prepared when it comes to asking life-changing questions or making life-changing decisions. First and foremost, take a look at your past performance objectively and note when you have over-achieved, anything else is pointless as that is what you are paid for. Reconsider your job description and see where you had added value to your company, very often line managers may not recall or taken notice of your small wins which can add up quickly. You may want to file any positive feedback from clients, suppliers or other work peers, these may come very handy when building your case.
Have an action plan: Write everything down before your meeting
It is always a good idea to write notes and to rehearse with a trusted friend if possible any scenario before having your meeting with your manager. This will definitely show when you will be in full negotiation, you will have sound and solid arguments ready and this definitely will show how prepared you are and how serious you are taking the matter. Remember: "You only get one chance to make a good impression" and "if you snooze, you lose", in other words, lack of preparation and knowledge on a topic discussed can definitely affect the outcome of the conversation. You have to also bear in mind that your manager will remember this type of requests and that this may be brought up during future appraisal, so be sure that it is the right thing to do at that time.
Avoid any ambiguity and DO NOT ambush your manager
Try to make sure your line manager is fully aware of your intentions, as putting one on the spot is never a good idea. Your line manager may interpret your behaviour as confrontational. Remain professional at all times and choose a one-to-one or private time, to discuss the matter. Performance reviews with a prior warning of wanting to discuss your pay could be an appropriate time to do so.
Negotiating is an art
Negotiating requires confidence, be consistent in your reasoning and present your case clearly and try not to be afraid of failure. Being polite and reasonable will boost your case.
"Always remember that there is a rhythm to everything. Don’t push it. Oftentimes, it is best to say nothing. Never forget that silent pauses can be a very powerful tool. Give yourself and others the time and space to reflect upon everything that has been said...."Source: Entrepreneur.com
Read the room and be realistic
Make sure you are aware of your sector, some industries have been drastically affected by the pandemic (ie: Nightlife, travel, tourism, hospitality), you want to ensure it is an appropriate time to ask for a pay rise. You would not want to come across insensitive or unreasonable by asking more in a time of hardship.
Have a Plan B: You never know how a negotiation could go
Getting a pay rise may not always be possible and if the negotiation is not going how you would originally think, then focus on other things to strive for. "This could mean asking for a more senior job title, especially if your current role has evolved over time, you could also ask for new development opportunities" according to Nick, or training support to develop new skills and evolve within the company.
Be willing to walk away and be prepared for a 'NO'
You should take time to mentally prepare to walk away if the counteroffer does not meet your expectation or simply be prepared for a 'NO', especially during the current stressful times, you do not want to be too disheartened if things do not go as planned. If the answer is NO, try to understand their reasoning, if it is based on your performance this is a good opportunity to find out how you can improve. And if you really feel the decision was unreasonable or unfair, do not hesitate to look out for new opportunities in the same sector.
Hoping these tips will help you to ask and get the salary you desire. However, remember that it is down to your manager to decide if you deserve it or not. During these difficult times, it could be possible that the company may not be able to afford it, so try to not take things personally if things do not pan out as you wanted them to. Many people are out of work due to the pandemic, so bear that in mind and try to stay positive: A 'NO' today may be a 'YES' tomorrow.