Is it that time of the year when you need to ask for what you deserve? The timing may be a bit off considering the pandemic but here’s how you can still go for it.

5 Things to keep in mind during your performance appraisal

Many say the hardest thing in life is to get another person to take out money from their wallet and give it to you. They also claim you can gauge another person’s true nature when both of you have conflicting desires. Asking for a raise at work can seem like a mix of both these tricky situations. 

It’s important to remember that asking for a raise is not the same as demanding a favour. It’s a fair request, especially in view of all the hard work you've done in the past year – and will continue to do. Hence, it’s important to tackle the situation objectively and rationally, instead of getting personal. 

Now, with the coronavirus looming over us and everyone taking a financial hit, approaching the appraisal conversation has to be done more strategically than ever before. Here’s how to go about it. 

1. Give yourself a self-appraisal 

This activity calls for you to be completely honest with yourself. You know better than anyone else where you shone and where you fell short; which projects you worked extra hard on and which ones you goofed up. Think over the last year carefully. This isn’t going to be a one-time activity; you’ll need a few days to give yourself an objective review. Taking a recap of the work you’ve done and evaluating your contribution vis-a-vis your teammates can help you get a sense of where you stand. 

2. Seek feedback from colleagues

Don’t wait for the appraisal conversation to seek feedback from your manager. Go around and talk to your peers and juniors – this, along with your self-appraisal and feedback from your seniors, is called 360-degree performance appraisal. Ask them to honestly tell you what they think your work strengths and weaknesses are, how easy it is to work and communicate with you, what their experience has been, areas you can improve in, etc. It will be ideal if you can get this documented. Whether you use this data or not, it’s good to have a record of such information for your personal reference. Depending on your job role and industry, you can also seek feedback from the clients you’ve worked with. 

Related: Need a pay raise? Here are some quick tips that will help you

3. Make a list of your achievements

After you’ve appraised yourself and got feedback from everyone, make a list of all your work achievements in the past year. This can include emails from your boss, clients, peers, etc. either praising you personally or for your contribution to a team or project. It would be even better if you can quantify this in numbers. For instance, if you’re a consultant, the number of hours you’ve billed clients could be something you might want to highlight. But if you’re a writer with an online publication, the number of likes, shares, and comments your pieces have received would be the yardstick. Don’t forget to cite other contributions you’ve made – such as organising office parties, setting up workshops for training, etc. 

4. Take your future goals into consideration

This is a great time to think about your career track for the future. Do you expect to stay with the company for a long time, or will you be seeking another job soon? Have you been wanting to switch careers entirely, or thinking of starting your own business after you’ve saved the goal amount? Do you plan to get an executive MBA or any other certification that can enhance your skills and knowledge? It’s good to be clear about these things for yourself and also for pitching your case to your boss. For instance, if you plan to do a short-term course and get a certification for a skill that could help in your current or future job role in the same company, it’s going to be beneficial not just for you but also your company. 

Related: Advice for women who are looking for employment after a career break

5. Review your contributions and responsibilities

It’s only natural that when you ask for a raise you will be asked how you plan to further contribute to your job. This is why you need to think it through before your performance appraisal. It’s essential to remember that you shouldn’t commit to something you won’t be able to (or want to) do in the long term. Instead, think of the pain points that your company, department, or team faces and ask yourself how you can help. Ideally, this has to be directly related to your work, but it can also include other things. For instance, if you work at a startup and it's in the process of scaling up and structuring, you could offer to play a leading role in (say) setting up a cell to combat sexual harassment at the workplace.

Last words

Finally, it’s crucial to gauge and understand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on your company. Is it laying off people? Have there been pay cuts? Or are things functioning fairly normally? You should also look at the current scenario in your industry and whether there are other jobs available. It’s always good to have options so that even if things don’t go your way when you negotiate, you won’t need to feel helpless about it, but confident. Read this to understand how women approach money differently than men do.