- On November 28, 2020
2020 is drawing close to the end and not a moment too soon. You may be evaluating your job satisfaction and considering your pay. If you plan on asking for a raise, here are the standard steps in normal times. But in the time of a global pandemic, you should also take into account the weight of your request and the likelihood it’ll come through. Three questions to ask from the Wall Street Journal:
- How much social capital does your boss have? The more capital, the better your odds are of getting what you want, so consider how your boss is regarded. The Wall Street Journal says, “The best way to unearth your boss’s social capital is to form connections with those above you. By interacting with high-status people, you can develop an accurate knowledge of the status hierarchy.” But if your year-end review is looming and you need to decide whether to ask for more money now, check with colleagues if this boss has come through for them previously. And if you discover your boss has low status, the Wall Street Journal suggests starting with a small ask, trying to change bosses, or waiting it out until your boss gains more status (!).
- How much capital does your boss need to expend to get you what you want? Figure out how easy or hard it is for management to fulfill your ask, e.g., increase in base vs. bonus vs. equity, flexibility in hours, etc. If your ask is big, the Wall Street Journal suggests getting more creative, like instead of asking for a big raise, ask for incremental payout since “it could be that what is cheap for your boss to give is what is going to bring you the biggest benefit.”
- How does your request help your boss? What problem does it solve? Because humans are more sensitive to potential loss than potential gain (and hopefully your manager is human), you have to make clear what they are gaining by your request and the speed they will be gaining it. One way is to show how you will be taking on more work and saving them time.
Pro tip: Also consider the timing of your request. Maybe your boss has the capital to give you what you want, but you didn’t make the request in time to fit the annual review cycle. Talk to HR about the review/raise process. Check out this article to get a sense of timing, and see if COVID is impacting the cycle per Washington Post (“The pandemic has forced more companies to reevaluate their performance reviews… Some are postponing — at least for now — the time-consuming and cumbersome ritual of corporate America. Others are attempting to simplify the process as they weigh how to evaluate employees facing unprecedented upheaval and working from home until next summer — or longer.”)