Asking for a Payrise in a Recession
Making a case for more dollar can be challenging at the best of times, amid a recession it is likely to feel about as comfortable as your pre-lockdown skinny jeans…
Here are some basic pointers that should stand you in decent stead as you load the bullets of your payrise gun:
Take every inch of emotion from your pre-discussion, discussion and post discussion thinking and conversations. This is absolutely key. Money is a sticky subject and naturally emotive. Conversations can quickly take a heated turn – you can feel undervalued and your manager can potentially be made to feel very defensive and ‘cornered’.
Objectively approach the preparation and the eventual discussion – think of it as making a case for someone else. Methodical, systematic, fact led.
Avoid the following at all cost:
- I deserve a pay-rise because I’m better than Jane and Steve.
- I deserve a pay-rise you will be in the sh1t without me…. If you push your manager over a barrel don’t be surprised if they kick you back.
- I deserve a pay-rise because the role is really stressing me out.
- I deserve a pay-rise because Jo Bloggs has had one
Steer away from anything emotive or anecdotal.
Instead, gather a trail of supportive evidence and facts that back up your case.
- Your current role and responsibilities: fully mapped. How have they changed / grown since you took the role / last had a pay review.
- What do the additional duties mean to you (time spent / training undertaken / personal development made / qualifications obtained) – are you managing more colleagues, using new systems / equipment, managing higher volumes or complexities of work, undertaking more tasks.
- What do they mean to the business (time saves / headcount saved etc.)… it is fair and sensible to expect these things have a ‘value’ and that should be reflected in your reward structure.
- How long have you been doing it for – often businesses take a stance of wanting you to prove yourself in the role before you receive the reward package associated … personally I’ve always been cool with this for a short and defined period of time ….. not for years on end!!
- How have your appraisals gone? What is your track record – remind them (provided they have been positive)!
You need to get marking the bench….
Bench-marking: Internally – at the very least you should have parity with colleagues with the same remit / level of responsibility as you – be tactful… this isn’t saying “I’m better than Tim” its saying this role at this level in our business gets x or y.
Bench-marking: The Market – what does your current role pay elsewhere, review adverts, speak to specialist recruiters – what could you get for a side move.
Bench-marking: Your Value: what could you apply to – what is the ‘market worth’ of your skill and experience – what role could you do to get your CURRENT salary
Once you have all of the info you should arrange a time to present and discuss it. Don’t spring it on your manager, be open and put a meeting in the diary. Also try to be considerate – if there is a redundancy meeting at 10am maybe don’t plumb for an 11am salary increase discussion!
Be sensitive about the subject of why you want it / why you are taking the decision to ask now. The driver for the meeting needs to be made clear – it is not about stamping feet but a want to feel rewarded appropriately, avoid resentment, feel valued, remove need to move jobs / employer for appropriate remuneration…. not because you need a new car / the kitchen / a holiday.
It’s part of your leaders role to encourage communication and take away any factors that may cause you to become unsettled if possible – the fact you have just bought a new house and the stamp duty is higher than you expected is not your bosses fault nor a reason for them to pick up the tab!
Its important to remember that often your direct line manager is not the ultimate decision maker when it comes to signing off your pay-rise. The key is to give them enough tangible, clear and structured evidence to allow them to go into bat successfully on your behalf.
Lastly be clear about what you want. This is a sticky one for many people – be confident but avoid the realms of fantasy. Be mindful that you don’t just have to negotiate on salary – you could look to add an LTIP, equity, a vehicle or car allowance, a better healthcare package, higher pension contribution, better bonus potential, more holidays, flexible working…
It’s fine to get creative – if you don’t ask you seldom get.
So be clear, focus on detail and evidence, be objective and measured and above all else be honest. In my opinion this shouldn’t be a game of poker – it should be an adult discussion with candour and clarity. If you manager reacts with emotion give them some breathing space – it can be an uncomfortable discussion, particularly for less experienced leaders – they might need time to reflect themselves. However take the lead in terms of follow up – request deadlines / follow up meetings to bring it to closure.
Thanks for reading and Good Luck!