How to Negotiate a Pay Raise Amid Rising Layoffs and Ongoing Inflation


One of my grandmother's favorite sayings was, "You don't ask, you don't get." 

And yet even when you're not requesting something over-the-top or unreasonable, there's an inherent awkwardness to the whole business of "asking." 

When you put yourself out there, you run the risk of hearing "no." You also make yourself vulnerable in a way that feels brutally uncomfortable. 

Sometimes even when your ask results in a "yes," you may still want to hide in the trunk of your car (preferably with a layer cake) for a while afterward. 

But, again, if you don't ask for something you need or want, you're probably never going to get it.

Here's an example of where my reluctance to ask is holding me back: When my YA thriller came out in April 2021, my publisher's marketing team (and pretty much every book-industry PR person on the internet) said, "You need reviews! You have to get lots and lots of reviews! The more reviews the better! The more you have, the more the algorithms will promote your book, and, in turn, the more books you'll sell etc." 

There wasn't a single person out there who said what I wanted to hear, which was, "Oh, you have 8 reviews? Cool. That seems like plenty!" 

So each time someone said something kind about the book, a voice in my head screamed, "ASK THEM TO WRITE A REVIEW!" Then another voice fired back, "SHUT UP! That's a big ask. No one has time! It's enough that they read the book!" 

You'd think over time I would've gotten better at making this request. Reader, I have not. The few times I've done it, I feel vile and dirty—like I stole a little kid's lunch money or tripped an old lady so I could nab the last Swedish meatball free sample at Costco.

And yet...last summer when I began pitching The Perfect Neighborhood to local libraries, asking them to consider it for their book clubs, one responded with, "Get back to me when you have over 100 4-star or higher reviews."

Yikes! I know I'm not alone in finding this difficult. In an effort to overcome it, I'm going to write a piece about exactly how to get comfortable with asking for reviews for Writers Helping Writers, which will include scripts on exactly what to say. Stay tuned! (And thank you to everyone who takes the time to write a book review, it truly makes a difference!)

Over the past few years, I've written pieces on how to make difficult asks, like how to talk to your boss about continuing to work remotely post-Covid and how to make a similar request when you're caring for aging parents

Another always-challenging topic is asking for a raise. But, let's be honest, who couldn't use a bump in pay these days? I mean, have you seen the price of eggs? I'm on the verge of abducting a chicken. 

If you're a returning reader to this blog, you may be thinking, "But
Liz, what advice could you possibly offer on negotiating a raise? Bachelor engagements last longer than some of your recent stints!"

To which I say, "I know! I know!" 

So for this topic, I offer the advice of Andres Lares, managing partner at Shapiro Negotiations Institute and co-author of Persuade: The 4-Step Process to Influence People and Decisions. 

Lares's expertise ranges from coaching live negotiations for sports clients including the Cleveland Browns, the Brooklyn Nets, and more.

Here are Lares's top 4 tips for negotiating a salary increase:

1. Consider asking for a raise. Discussing inflation and worker pay is unavoidable at this point but a large number of companies don't factor in inflation when giving out annual salary increases and bonuses. If you haven't asked for a raise in the last year you’re likely kicking yourself which means you are aware of the shift in the market. Led by layoffs in tech, the employee market has clearly cooled down quite a bit so you don’t have as much leverage. But, depending on the role, your performance, etc. you still may have plenty of leverage. Inflation is still a thing and keeping an employee is always much cheaper and easier than getting a new one. But, make sure you ask nicely, with empathy. As a potential recession looms, there is more pressure on companies to cut costs and you need to be aware of this as you make the ask.


2.  Come prepared. Script out what you’re going to say and then roleplay in the mirror or with a friend. This allows you to get confident, convey confidence, and start strong. You can initiate the conversation easily by mentioning after doing some market research and assessing the way that inflation has affected your cost of living, you believe that an increase in salary is appropriate. It may take practice, but the more you do it, the more empowered you’ll feel.

3. Communicate value. Simplify the desired end result in your mind, and use that as a starting point to map out the ways that goal is beneficial for everyone involved. Communicate your desire clearly and then highlight your accomplishments (i.e. you've worked at this company for several years, you have successfully managed multiple clients, contributed to the bottom line, etc). But, use the past as a prediction of the future rather than just looking backward. You aren’t getting a raise for what you’ve done but instead for what you are predicted to achieve.
4. Be open to other options. Remember employers can negotiate areas such as title, health insurance, 401k contributions, expensing commuting costs, increasing paid time off, etc. This is also very important because otherwise you can quickly get aggressive and negotiate in a fixed manner. Remember, the key is to negotiate to improve your situation but do so in a way that still at least satisfies your employer. After all, is a one-time 5% raise worth destroying a relationship with an employer? That should not deter you from asking, but it should guide HOW you do it.

Thanks for reading! 

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