- If you’re nervous about asking for a raise during the pandemic, think carefully about when and how to bring it up to your manager.
- As you approach the conversation, start by finding the right window of opportunity — don’t ask for more when your company is undergoing layoffs or other major changes.
- Arrive prepared with information about your performance, and use the “two-part request” to highlight both the company’s situation and your individual contributions.
- Even if the chances are slim, you can always lay the groundwork for a raise in the future by asking for feedback and working towards new goals.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
If you’re employed during the pandemic, there’s a good chance you won’t get a raise. You probably feel scared asking for a raise. You may even have taken a pay cut. And you’ve probably been told — or you’ve at least told yourself — that you should be grateful to have a job at all. But once the pandemic is behind us, a question arises: When is it a good time to learn how to ask for a raise?
The answer is still uncertain right now, but it’s a great time to do your homework and prepare your request in a professional way.
“You might be told no,” said Marianne Adoradio, a career consultant for Genentech in the San Francisco area. But even if you don’t get an immediate raise, asking — appropriately — might still be beneficial. “You’re displaying professionalism, assertiveness, and initiative. It shows that you won’t be taken advantage of when times change.”
Adoradio and other experts offer these four tips for deciding how and when to ask for an increase in pay:
Arm yourself with facts
It’s hard to know how to ask for a raise until you do some research. You need to know how your company and industry are doing: Is your company meeting its financial goals? What is the current market rate for someone doing your job?
Unofficial information, such as whether anyone in the company has been getting raises, can also be helpful if you’re able to find out discreetly.
Finally, it’s important to know “where you stand in the eyes of your manager and the management team,” Adoradio said. If you’re considered indispensable, you’ll have a stronger case when asking for a raise.
Choose the right time
As you gather your information about the company’s performance, you may realize that it’s not the best time to ask for a pay increase.
“I wouldn’t do it if they’re still cutting things left and right,” said Kathy Ullrich, technology partner and head of US diversity practice for Odgers Berndtson in Silicon Valley.
Asking for a raise while the company is in the middle of layoffs, for example, could send a signal that “you’re not tuned in to the business,” said Leslie G. Griffen, a Missouri-based HR consultant and career coach.
Phrase your request carefully
Adoradio suggests presenting a two-part request that highlights both your knowledge of the company’s situation and your contributions — for instance: “Our department has been working extra hard, and my last performance review was exceptional. Once the economic situation of the company starts improving, I’m wondering if I could have a 5% pay increase.”
If you have market data for your job position to back up your request, Ullrich suggested phrasing your request something like this: “I know that I joined the company during a softening economy. I was hoping that we could use this next year to get me closer to the norm.”
Have a backup plan
Asking for a raise likely isn’t possible now, but you can take this opportunity to lay the groundwork for the future. Ask for feedback on your work so you know where to improve. Griffen suggested saying something like, “I’m disappointed that it looks like increases are not going to be in place this year, but I would like some feedback on my value to the organization.”
Adoradio recommends also asking your manager about the company goals that need to be met before management will start considering raises.
If you’re been given the runaround, or if no raise is in sight, knowing how to ask for a raise won’t get you the results you’re after. It’s time to fire up a job search and get paid what you deserve.