Your annual performance review is approaching. Reviews can bring up a lot of different feelings and thoughts for each of us. For some reviews are exciting, but for the majority, they bring up a bit of stress and fear due to the uncertainty and because many use review time to ask for an increase.
Is review time the best time to ask for a raise?
It depends on several factors, which we’ll explore in this blog.
For some people, the review is the perfect opportunity to ask for a raise, but it depends on the company’s policies, making it a wrong time for some.
Before you go in for your review, it’s important to know there are different types of reviews. The two main types are performance and compensation reviews. Sometimes the two are tied together, and sometimes companies purposely separate the two, so knowing how your company works is best.
While many people will tell you that review time is the best time to ask, I’ve discovered that it’s not always the best.
When is the wrong and right time to ask for a raise during a review?
First, let’s talk about the wrong times to ask for a raise during reviews.
- Timing-If it hasn’t been long since you’ve gotten a raise.
Timing is important when it comes to asking for a raise. If you received a raise in the six months leading up to your review, it might be too soon, especially if you want something more substantial than the standard 2-6% increase.
- If your performance review is subjective and not objective.
A subjective review is one where your manager arbitrally gives you a rating based on their memory and viewpoint of your work. Some examples include communication, teamwork, quality of work, efficiency, etc., which are not based on a clear set of criteria.
Most often, all the value you add to the company will not be present within a subjective view.
An objective review is one where a standard set of metrics is used to measure your performance. Some examples include a customer service score, sales numbers, production quantity, leads generated, retention, etc. depending on your position, the metrics used will vary greatly based on the most important outcomes of your role. Sometimes these numbers are referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs).
Additionally, many managers don’t track your success, and unfortunately, the human brain tends to forget information after 30 days, based on studies. So your managers will likely forget about some of your accomplishments before the review.
Ultimately the burden falls on you to present your value. This most often means you need to go outside of the scope of the review to create a complete picture of the work you’ve accomplished.
- If you were rated poorly- even if you disagree with it.
While it’s not best practice for performance reviews to have “surprise” negative feedback, this does happen. Most of the time, it’s because managers struggle with giving their employees feedback.
In some cases, they would rather not say anything. So they put it off until it’s review time.
If this happens to you, do your best to listen and not be defensive. Since your manager is likely uncomfortable with giving the feedback, help them by seeking to understand what the specific issue(s) is and what you can do to address the problems mentioned.
While receiving negative feedback can feel challenging, it’s important to remember that this is the information you need to move your career forward. Make a plan to correct the actions and plan to meet with your manager frequently to review your results.
Once corrections are made, you can proceed with seeking advancement.
- You want significantly more than the standard raise.
If you want to go beyond the standard 2 to 3% raise, you should first know how to frame your value, and you must present them to the right people. Since reviews typically have a set format and duration and are often administered by your direct manager, it diminishes your ability to create the best environment for presenting your future value frame.
Additionally, it’s helpful to understand when budgets are set. When allocations are done ahead of reviews, it makes it more challenging for your manager to give you a more substantial raise even when they want to if funds are not available.
While understanding when budgets are set and how they are set is important, don’t let this deter you from advocating for yourself. It’s likely just best to do it before you get to review time.
Now that we’ve covered the wrong times to ask for a raise during a review, let’s look at the specific instances when it’s appropriate and beneficial to ask for a raise during a review.
When is it the right time to ask for a raise during a review?
- If raises are awarded at reviews, especially if you’ve got a great review.
If this is the system your company has set up for awarding compensation increases, then it’s certainly not a bad time. While it might not be the best for the reasons listed above, you’ve got a good chance of getting an increase.
However, just because compensation increases are awarded at raises, there have been instances where people get great reviews after great reviews but still don’t get compensation increases because they didn’t ask for an increase.
It’s best to be prepared. You can start by knowing your market value and long-term career goals to ensure you’re presenting your worth to your managers. I’ve created a free guide to help you find your market value. Download it here.
- If budgets are set shortly after reviews.
In this case, you have the ability to ask for a more substantial raise. While you may have to wait a bit for the additional increase, you won’t have to wait another year. Many budgets are set arbitrarily and are flexible. I know that sounds strange, but what I’ve found is that there are always exceptions to the rules. The key is to present yourself and your value in a way that makes your manager compelled to go outside of the current system to give your more. So, frame your value and ask for that raise!
- If there isn’t a standard path for advancement.
When your company doesn’t have a standard process for giving raises, the burden falls on the employee to advocate for themselves.
While the review is a time you can ask for a compensation increase, it isn’t necessarily the best time. For starters, we have all of the above reasons that make reviews not the best time to ask for a compensation increase.
Additionally, you are not likely to be the only one asking for a raise during this time. Meaning your manager is going to be not only advocating for your increase but for your colleague’s increases as well. Your manager may feel more pressure during this time because many people are asking, and they may have been told by their manager that raises would not be given.
In conclusion, asking for a raise during your review can yield an increase, but isn’t often the best time when you want to increase substantially.
From my experience and that of my clients, it’s best to set up a separate personal advancement meeting where you can present your past value and your future value. When you set up your own meeting, you get to invite who you want to it, set the length, and present your own materials where you can fully showcase your value, making it easy for your manager to give you a substantial increase.
If you’d like help in navigating, creating your frame, and designing your career advancement meeting for a substantial increase, then I invite you to schedule an Accelerated Career Clarity Call today.
On the call, we’ll talk about your career goals and how you can achieve them in record time without all the stress.