While working remotely is way different from your everyday life in an office environment, some issues never change – how to ask for days off, how to manage work relationships, how to maintain work-life balance and last but not least: is it a good idea to ask for a pay raise and how to do it in a right way?
No matter what your working situation is, if you are a decent, hard-working employee, there is nothing wrong with asking for more salary. It can be a daunting step to take but with smart tactics and good timing, you have a chance of success. And the worst that could happen – your manager will refuse and you will have the same salary you had this morning, and that’s not the end of the world.
We believe that with strong strategies and good preparation every remote employee has a strong chance of getting a promotion. Here are several tips and tricks that you can use to increase your chances.
According to Harvard researchers, many remote managers struggle to promote their employees because they do not have a clear overview of their performance. While it’s your manager’s job to assess your achievements, it’s should be your priority to make yourself visible. But keep in mind, that it does not mean to message your supervisor every time you complete the task. It’s more about regular updates, honest talks and progress.
We recommend making an agreement with your remote manager and sending weekly reports that would include both, your own achievements and your team’s progress. First things first, it would show how you are working and how you improve performance over time. And secondly, it would also showcase your challenges and help you get feedback from your supervisor.
And if your team is already using some task management platforms, just use them regularly and keep your work updated. Since remote managers don’t have regular access to their team members, they often refer to task management platforms to see who is on top of the game and who struggles with the workload.
Networking is very important for meeting new people, seizing new opportunities and setting your reputation in the company. If you work in a hybrid company, your days in the office is the time to socialize with other departments and employees beyond your team. If you work in a fully remote environment, there are a couple of ways you can network.
Get involved in your company’s virtual events, whether it’s webinars, virtual birthdays or happy hours. It’s a great opportunity to socialize and get engaged with people from different departments. And don’t just attend, but participate. For example, if it’s a webinar, ask a question or if it’s a birthday initiate a game.
Group chats are another place you can meet people outside of your department or team. Try to build relationships and make yourself memorable. You will need those connections after getting the promotion.
Take on more responsibilities
As a remote employee, you might already have many responsibilities that fill up your entire day. But if you want to get a raise, be prepared for adding more to your plate. There are a couple of ways to take on more responsibilities in your team.
Firstly, look over your to-do list and calendar and prioritize your tasks. Separate the ones that are urgent and important from those that are less crucial for you and your team. Think, what are some of the tasks that you can save some time on or stop doing at all? There are a number of apps and programs that can help you save time while doing something. For example, you don’t need to read the whole page to get the idea of the text, there is a method called “diagonal reading”. So if you’d read about 240 words in a minute with regular reading, you’d read 900 words with diagonal reading.
If you decide to get rid of some of the tasks, for now, do so and look at your calendar for the following week. How many free working hours do you have? What are some of the tasks within your team that you can fit into those hours? Are you skilled to take on those tasks and do they seem interesting to you – answer these questions and then talk with your manager. Try to focus on tasks that require more skill and knowledge from you compared to your current work to show that you are ready for new responsibilities.
Secondly, you can always voice your opinions and ideas during team meetings. We recommend asking for more responsibility if you think that your ideas would benefit the entire project. It would show that you are proactive, working towards common success and not afraid to grow further. And it takes us to the next point.
Learn new skills
It would be very difficult to tackle the new list of responsibilities without mastering a few skills. You might need to do it simultaneously, but the learning components are crucial. It would not only help fulfill your responsibilities but show your peers and team leaders that you are a proactive remote employee who always thrives to become better at your job.
There are a lot of learning opportunities, both online and offline. You can start from the number one free platform, Youtube and move from there. Don’t be afraid to ask around what options your company offers to its employees. Sometimes employers finance skills development online courses, especially in the remote working environment.
If you struggle with finding the right courses, here is a tip from us. Search on LinkedIn what people in your field learn or what they list as their skills on their profiles. People often share their achievements and it might be a good place for you to start.
And, apart from online courses, you could always refer to human interaction.
Find a mentor
If you plan to ask for a raise at your current remote work, it’s time to seek a mentor. The mentor would give you regular feedback and teach you new skills and techniques. As a result, you’d not only learn from your mistakes and get better at what you do but earn recognition among your co-workers as well.
It might be a challenge to maintain a mentor-mentee dynamic in a remote environment, without lunch dates or casual coffee breaks in the office. The key is to focus on communication and connection, rather than structured arrangements. You could still learn a lot from someone via Zoom or any other platform and the overall experience could be beneficial for both parties.
When it comes to choosing your mentor, try to find someone who would introduce you to others within your company and beyond. And someone who has the skills you’d like to master to get the promotion. Ask about their experience, failures, and successes and request feedback on your daily work. Step by step you’d get closer to achieving your goal.
Track your progress
If you’ve already taken on new responsibilities, found a mentor and learned new skills, it’s time to track your progress. It can be as simple as writing down in a notebook what you have achieved that week. Maybe you closed a project and wowed a client, or developed software helping thousands of people. No matter how small or big the achievement was it still counts as progress.
Once you make this practice part of your daily life, it would not only make you aware of how things are going but act as a tracked record of your work for your boss. Firstly, you can discuss it during one-on-one meetings or other types of feedback sessions with your team leader. Secondly, once you decide to talk with your boss about a raise, this list would showcase your abilities, initiatives, learning potential and ambition.
When you talk with your boss about the raise, it’s crucial to kickstart your argument with facts and numbers. For example, if you work in sales, count how much money have you made in the last year and how many clients you have brought into the company: “Thanks to my work we have gained 50 more long-term clients and earned 500 000 in sales.” It makes your work measurable and concrete and in the long run, has more weight and impact on your successful negotiation.
You’d also need to prepare a number for a raise. Once asked, you should know what you want and be very straight about it. Many employees make the mistake of leaving it to their bosses to offer the number and do not end up with what they deserve. Do your research, look up how much people are paid in other companies and try to ask for a similar amount. For sources, we recommend PayScale and Salary.com – both give good estimates on the market rate for your job title.
Practice makes perfect
Prepare for “the talk” just the way you would for any other presentation or idea pitch. Practice what you are going to say and how you’d prove your argument. Think about any possible questions that might come up, for example: “What are some of your major achievements in the last months”, “What more would you be willing to do if given a promotion?”, “How skilled are you for the higher position?” and so on. Your manager is likely to think about saving more money for the company and that means spending less on salaries. So you might need to prove your point and that takes a thorough practice.
Get the time right
If you and your remote manager meet regularly, one of these meetings is the perfect time to bring up your request. Otherwise, it’s up to you to talk with your supervisor and schedule a special meeting. It’s important to make it clear what the meeting is about so that the other party also has some time to think about it. Let them know approximately how long it would take and choose the online tool to use.
No matter how much you deserve the promotion, at the end of the day, you might not get it. It might happen because the company doesn’t have enough money or because the time is not right. But it’s not an indication for you to self-doubt your abilities and reputation in the company. Instead, it’s time to come up with other ways of compensation and benefits and this is where a remote working environment can play a role.
There are a number of other things you can ask for. For instance, maybe you want to attend that conference in Germany and need some finances. Or want to upgrade your home office or just need some new equipment. All these help you upgrade your skills, become better at what you do and ultimately, benefit the company with your success. Therefore, it should not be a problem to convince your supervisor to offer some alternatives to promotion. Of course, it’s not nearly as good but shows that you know your worth in the company.
Asking for a promotion when you work remotely might be a new ground for you and all the other remote workers out there. It can be awkward and scary, but if you find the right moment and prepare for the day, the process will get easier. Try to network in your company, take initiative, ask for more responsibilities, be a good team player, and work towards improving your skillset and you will have a better chance at success. People have a hard time letting go of a proactive, hard-working employee. You might not get a promotion the first time around, but don’t forget to ask for other types of compensation. And most importantly – learn from your mistakes and prepare for the future.