Businesses are going through difficult times but you can still make sure your employer knows your worth.
The situation in the last months hasn’t been easy on organizations and business in many sectors is very slow. Some businesses have shut down while others are gradually picking up. However, generally speaking, most organizations have taken a hard hit. They’ve been forced to cut their expenses, review their operating budget, put a hold on investment projects, and freeze salaries, recruitment and promotions. It may not look like it’s the best time to negotiate a raise.
But it might actually be the perfect time. You can consolidate your position and work on your strategy. Here a few starting points:
1. Know your value on the market
Before asking for a salary increase, do a little soul searching and ask yourself if:
- Your responsibilities meet your needs;
- You’re still as driven to do your job;
- The business and your manager meet your expectations.
A better salary won’t necessarily improve your work life quality and it won’t reignite your sense of belonging or make you happier. Make sure you do it for the right reasons.
Do you know your theoretical value on the market? It represents how much is normally paid for a similar experience on a comparative market.
There are a few ways to get this information. If you’re a member of a professional order, you probably have access to salary surveys that can give you an idea. You can also easily find public surveys or reference databases on the internet, or refer to recruitment agencies.
We know that the best way to get a raise is when you start a new job or get promoted. So, how can you make the most of the situation when you’ve been stuck in your seat?
2. Showcase what you bring to the table
Put yourself in the manager’s shoes. Build your arguments and deliver them smartly at the right time. You must be able to clearly explain how you contribute to the organization and show your added value as an employee.
- What do you bring to the table?
- How can you contribute to company growth and wealth?
- Did you come up with projects that helped the organization save money?
- What are your success stories?
Think of all the projects you worked on, the internal controls you’ve put in place that helped avoid the worst, how you promote and help put the organization on the map, and the excellent client experience you never fail to deliver.
Highlight the value of your contributions and projects. And remember that managers look at costs and benefits. So, avoid using arguments like “I’m underpaid” or “I deserve it; I’ve been doing this job for a long time.” Look further and have a strategic approach.
3. Put your skills and knowledge forward
You can emphasize a wide array of skills but you must choose wisely. Remember that you will have to justify—and perhaps even debate—each and every one of them during your interview.
First, know the difference between skills and qualities. Professional skills are associated with a specific know-how that you have acquired and had validated through an experience or a diploma.
Qualities are personality or character traits. Ask yourself what special aptitudes helped you deliver your projects and mandates successfully; those are your personal qualities and talent.
IT professionals can show their managers that their skills and expertise are needed and are crucial in ensuring business continuity and security before and after the current pandemic. Without them, most companies would have struggled with the wave of people working from home.
For example, a number of studies have shown that businesses were not equipped in the event of a cyber-attack. If you work in IT and have expertise in cybersecurity, highlight how you can bring value to the organization in times of teleworking, especially seeing how it is increasingly difficult to hire and retain individuals with those skills.
4. Have a strategy and be open to other options
Be strategic and pick the right time. Your annual performance review meeting is the worst time to negotiate raise because that’s what your co-workers will be doing too.
Be ahead of the game! Back yourself up using the information you’ve researched and your achievements that make you one of a kind.
Negotiating is an art. Prepare for your interview and be ready for the worst-case scenario. Make sure you have the arguments to counter-attack if needed.
Be open to other options if a raise is out of the question. For example, you can bring up employee benefits such as company shares, extra days off, a discretionary expense account, a flexible schedule, a company car, paid parking, enhanced group insurance, or a bonus.
5. Stay positive
Despite the potential hurdles and what you may think, it is always in the best interest of organizations to recognize employees with key skills and how they contribute to their business. They know the importance of fair compensation, even more so knowing that many employees would not hesitate to walk out the door if they feel exploited or undervalued. So, feel free to let your manager know that you truly appreciate the organization and want to help it succeed.
Asking for a raise is a key aspect of the professional development process but timing is everything. If your request is denied, the reasons are surely justifiable, and for you, it is not the end.
Getting up with a smile on your face every day, enjoying what you do at work, and feeling like you’re contributing to the organization is often more rewarding than a raise.
Keep up your excellent work and pursue your professional development journey. Understand what drives you, know what your goals are and why you deserve a raise. Your efforts will be recognized if you carry on with the right attitude—and you can try again with a new strategy in a few months.