Monday, December 21, 2020

Can You Ask for a Raise During the Pandemic?

Many people believe asking for a pay raise during this time of crisis for many companies is a no-no.

They're right. Sort of.

If you're working for an employer that is barely scraping by, one that has already laid off too many of your colleagues and is an industry hard-hit by the pandemic (hotels, restaurants, event management), then asking for a pay raise doesn't make sense right now.

But, if you're working for a company where business is doing very well, and you've had a direct hand in contributing to bottom-line success like bringing in new customers, coming up with a more efficient process that saves money or designing a new product that is paying off, then you wouldn't be amiss in asking for a pay raise based on those clear results of your worth.

Still, we are in the grips of a pandemic, and you don't want to appear callous as to what everyone -- including your boss -- is experiencing. So, just like you would during non-pandemic times, you need to bring up your request for more money when it's a good time (not when the boss is under pressure to meet a deadline or his partner just came down with COVID).

You want to ask for a raise when you're seen as doing a great job -- a recent performance evaluation went very well or you received a glowing, appreciative email from the boss or someone in the executive ranks.

Ask for a private meeting or Zoom call to talk to the boss about your request. You don't demand it. You don't say you need a raise to pay for a new car. You ask for a raise based on your contributions and your research of what others in your position are making.

Then, you let the boss think about it. It's likely he or she isn't just going to say "Okey dokey!" and give you what you want. If you get turned down eventually, don't start sending out resumes, but instead look for ways you can become even more valuable. A boss who says "no" to a raise may just be saying the timing isn't right. Keep a good relationship with him, and let him see that he can count on you -- and you may be rewarded when things improve.

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