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Seeking a pay raise in tough times

Asking for a raise anytime is a difficult task, but in these fraught times when many companies are grappling with the economic fallout due to the pandemic, it is daunting.

Last year has seen companies going remote and a large part of the workforce has been spending time feeling disenfranchised, over-worked, and underpaid.

If you are feeling all of the above, it is time to consider making a move. But remember, if things have been slow and stagnate for you, the company itself might be going through a tough phase, so do an honest review of the situation before moving forward.

Reasons for a raise

Consider your current role in the company—have you taken on extra tasks well above and beyond your job description?

Have you have used the time working from home to upgrade your skills, so much so that you bring extra value to the table?

Show your value with evidence and specific examples. For example, if you set up a better customer-focused workflow in your company, illustrate that. If that has resulted in more clients for the company, that is an extra feather for the team’s performance and overall profits, then show the numbers.

seeking a raise in workplace

Times are tough, getting a raise can be tough too!

You have already been performing well above your pace at a lower pay scale, and the market forces are offering much better compensation.

When asking for a pay raise, focus on the real outcomes of your extra work rather than saying you have been pulling a 75-hour week.

You have been waiting to override the pandemic to ask for a promised raise. 

Or you are lucky enough to be a part of that sector, which has done really well during the pandemic due to the services your company offers. (Online marketing, commerce, digital services, and more).

 Use the opportunity to focus on how you improved workflow, increased sales or traffic, or how you seamlessly took on more clients. 

Kate Dixon, author of Pay UP! advises, “If you are in a place where you’ve had a significant impact on the organization and taken on more responsibility and the company isn’t saying, ‘Have some more money or this promotion,’ you do owe it to yourself to ask.”

When not to ask for a raise

Now let us look at the reasons for not asking for a raise in the present circumstances if your company has taken a hit in its profits due to the pandemic. The management has made it clear that bonuses and raises will be postponed for the near future.

If you feel that you have been at the company for a long time.

You have nothing to show for your performance with the company. Meaning no data set that shows your outstanding achievements.

Once you have decided that the request is going to go forth on a pay rise, here are the things you need to talk about.

Along with the above reasons given for seeking a raise, here are some additional pointers. 

Talk of how you envisage your role in the company in the future. This look to the future shows your manager that you are prepared for the long haul, have a great understanding of your role in the company, and are prepared to grow.

When holding this tough conversation, address the so-called “elephant in the room,” the economic slowdown, furloughs, unclear scenario, the latest quarterly results, etc. Career specialist Shari Santoriello advises that you can frame your sentence such, “The last several months have been challenging, but I’ve been able to continue to grow my sales, improve team morale, or have brought in X new clients in a tough climate.”

Another piece of great advice is: Do not come to the meeting apologetic about your ask. And also, do not come with an or-else ultimatum or a righteous attitude. 

Reason and evidence should be your driving forces for asking for a raise.

Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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