There are some people out there who just love a performance review, but the reality is, many of us dread the inevitable HR chat with our manager and/or HR to discuss our past year in the company.
Depending on your confidence levels and self-promotion skills, you could find the review experience a breeze. But many of us anticipate an awkward conversation that you’d rather get out the way as soon as possible.
Along with your performance review comes the question of how to ask for a pay rise if you feel it’s time for one, and how often you should ask. The answer depends on a number of factors, which of course includes your performance but also external factors that you can’t control, like your company’s financial position and wider industry conditions and standards.
You shouldn’t get disheartened if you don’t get a pay rise – it doesn’t always reflect your performance at work, as demoralising as it can be not to get one. The good news is there are some steps you can take to turn this negative into a positive!
Are Your Expectations Too High?
Have you made a real contribution this past year? Or are you just asking for a pay rise because you need the money and think your company should fork out for that? You have to be honest and ask yourself, “Do I really deserve this pay rise?”.
Have you exceeded the expectations of your employer? If so, then it’s understandable to be disappointed and you’re in a good position to make a further case for a pay rise. If you’ve slipped on some of your objectives and KPIs, then a ‘no’ shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Build and Present Your Case
If you still feel like your efforts are not in line with your earning levels, try not to get angry. The most productive thing you can do is ask you manager for a chat, and have a list ready with all the reasons why you think you deserve that pay rise. Prepare well for the meeting with evidence such as salary benchmarks, your main achievements throughout the past year and have a list of other jobs in your industry at your level showing the level of pay they are offering (if that is beneficial to you!). Note any business you have brought into the company or targets you have smashed – your manager is far more likely to engage with you and give you what you want if you can quantify the contributions you have made to the company.
My Employer Rejected the Pay Rise – What Should I Do Next?
You’ve prepared fully for the meeting, presented your best self, and you have still been denied your pay rise. It’s completely normal to feel rejected, as most people think a ‘no’ means they are not good enough. This is a key time for employees to start losing motivation and drift. However, it’s important not to feel so dejected that it impacts the quality of your work and hinders your chances of a pay rise in the future. The way you conduct yourself in a challenging professional situation will have a major impact on what your employer thinks of you in the long run.
Be Pro-Active If It’s a No
It’s important to find out why you didn’t get a pay rise and not make assumptions. Don’t feel awkward about asking for another meeting with your manager – have another chat with them and talk through how you feel about their decision and listen to their reasoning. Their reasons may be very valid and have nothing to do with you as an employee, and it is important to understand these so you can make a decision on your future.
However, if your performance is to blame, getting feedback from the horse’s mouth will allow you to work on improving and showing progress for your next performance review.
You should now be at the stage where you are formulating a plan to ensure you get the pay rise you’re after in your next performance review. Work closely with your manager over the next period to focus on the key priorities and goals, and ensure you check-in with them from time to time. Use constructive criticism positively to help you learn and develop towards your end goal.
Providing the company’s budget is not an issue, you could request they send you on a training course to develop yourself or other career development opportunities within the business, which you could get involved in to broaden your experience and open new doors.
Time for a New Job?
Before you cry yourself to sleep and hand in your resignation the next day, make sure you’ve thought it through and are confident it’s the best decision for your future. There are instances where you may work for a company that doesn’t value its employees appropriately – if you have explored other options and still feel like your achievements have gone unappreciated for too long, then perhaps it’s time to move on.
When you resign, don’t focus on the fact that money is driving you away, as this most likely won’t leave the best lasting impression on your ex-employer. Conduct yourself with elegance and intelligence and move forward on a positive note, and you are far more likely to succeed in achieving your career and financial goals.