Many Americans are overworked and underpaid. And while this isn’t a fact for everyone, statistics show that median wages have fallen and are in a steady decline. With that in mind, it doesn’t have to be that way. Especially if you’re able to negotiate a better pay raise. But, how to get a raise during a pandemic? Let’s talk about it.
First things first, always be tactful and graceful when asking for a raise.
During times like this, with a pandemic looming, you also need to be able to read the room. For example, don’t go in asking for a raise right after layoffs. However, if your job and the job of your colleagues aren’t in immediate jeopardy, it’s okay to approach the subject.
As with anything, acknowledge the elephant in the room, and admit that you understand times are tough. And of course, don’t pout or be discouraged if you don’t get a yes during your first conversation. However, treat that as a “not yet” and ask if there is a better time to discuss, what you can do to improve and talk about the subject again, and discuss accomplishments.
Work Through The Facts & Numbers
- Have you taken on extra responsibilities?
- Were you supposed to have a review that was pushed back or in the near future?
- Have you received any certifications or education that puts you in a different position or higher-earning position?
- And last but not least, have the salaries and pay for your role and title increased in your area?
If any of these questions is true for you, now is that time to compile that information and produce them when asking for a raise. Now, don’t go in demanding a raise (see tip #1), but bring up that based on your experience, education, work ethic, and current wages, you’d like to negotiate a raise.
For example, instead of saying “I deserve $75,000”, mention that based on your area and level of expertise, that you see numbers within the “$75,000 and $85,000 ballpark”. Bring all the relevant information that you can and present your best case.
Of course, even if you’re working from home and attending Zoom meetings, it’s important to put your best self forward when asking for a raise.
- Dress up,
- put a smile on your face, and also
- make sure your connection and camera are clear (if meeting via a virtual meeting).
I’m not saying that you have to wear loads of makeup or wear an expensive suit, but you should look (and feel) your best. Not only does this give you confidence during your presentation and negotiations, but it also shows that you’re committed to being taken seriously. Which brings me to my next point…
Practice, Practice, Practice
Before you set up a meeting to negotiate and ask for a raise, practice what you’re going to say and how you’re going to answer questions. Practice with family, friends, a significant other, or even just in the mirror if you don’t have those options.
Also, look up questions that are commonly asked during raise negotiations, and practice your answers.
Make sure you remember the information you want to present too so that you’re not having to shuffle through emails, papers, or the like. Prepare for all scenarios, including a no. Again, no isn’t always a “forever no”. But you need to prepare to defend yourself, make good points, and bring up the topic again if necessary.
Focus On The Future
Do you know your company’s goals? Would an increase in pay mean that you’d take on additional tasks or make someone’s job easier? Find ways to focus on the future of the good of the company (and yourself) and show what needs you can help fulfill for that raise increase.
And of course, don’t just focus on the raise itself.
Are there other benefits you can ask for that doesn’t require an upfront investment from your company? It’s great to keep these options in your pocket in case your first offer is rejected. For example, expanded benefits (like health insurance), better hours (or more flexibility in your schedule), and even stock options can be a negotiating point for you as well.
Overall, you want to make it as easy as possible for your company to give you the raise you deserve. And you’d be surprised that even if you don’t get a direct increase, how far extra benefits could go.
Don’t Be Afraid To Move On
At the end of the day, sometimes employees aren’t as cherished as they should be. If you’ve exhausted all options, had multiple nos, but also know you deserve to be paid more, now is the time to look for higher-paying opportunities. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to stay in a company for 10+ years to be a loyal and trustworthy employee. Your needs, more than anything, come before a company.
It’s important to know and appreciate your own value and what you can bring to the table. And sometimes, you have to leave in order to do better for yourself and your finances. And that’s absolutely okay.
How To Get A Raise – Are You Ready For Yours?
No matter what, these tips can help you learn how to get a raise and make it as easy and pain-free as possible. There is no reason to be scared to propose a raise in your company. Hard workers deserve to be compensated fairly, so keep that in mind if you get nervous.
Are you looking to get a raise? If you’re worth more than you’re earning, then you should absolutely get one!
AUTHOR Kimberly Studdard
Kim Studdard is a project manager for online entrepreneurs and small businesses. When she isn't spending time with her daughter and husband, or reading her growing pile of horror books, you'll find her working on her HR degree and working towards FIRE.