8 Tips to land a promotion during the pandemic

Be prepared for a conversation about your deserved promotion and highlight the value you bring to the organisation.

8 Tips to land a promotion during the pandemic

“Just be grateful you have a job.” 

“Asking for a promotion right now will be a disservice to your career plans.” 

“Why don’t you wait for a while before broaching the subject?”

Sounds familiar?

A lot of people may advise you not to ask for a promotion during these tough times. While it may seem stressful or intimidating, you should have a conversation with your boss if you feel you have proven to be an asset in the past year. However, it is important that you approach the situation rationally and exhibit empathy. So, let’s take a look at how you can put your growth plan on track and ask for a promotion during a pandemic.

1. Study the market situation:
Before you ask for a promotion, do your homework. Learn about what is happening in your field. Has it been badly hit by the pandemic? For example, the travel and tourism industry has seen business plummeting in the last year. However, the IT industry has been a lifeline for businesses in this remote working culture, so if you are a techie it would be good to have this conversation. Check if your competitors are doing appraisals. Next, read up on how your company is performing. This research should help you decide how and when to ask for a promotion. 

2. Get the timing right:
Be mindful of what is happening around you and in your organisation. If people are getting laid off due to a slowdown, it may not be the best time to ask for a raise or a promotion. You do not want to come across as insensitive. If it is that time of the year when your company normally does appraisals and business is doing well, go ahead and make it known that you feel ready for a promotion. 

3. Be clear about your goals:
A lot of the time, we assume people are aware how hard we work or how indispensable we are. This cannot be further from the truth. You need to ensure that your work is visible, and vocalise your vision and goals. Tell your employer how passionate you are, what you can offer, and how the company stands to benefit. Yes, it can be stressful, but don’t let your anxieties get the better of you. Be confident; practise your appraisal meeting with your significant other or friend from the industry and come up with answers/solutions to different scenarios.

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4. Discuss how your role has changed:
The pandemic has changed the way we work. Has remote working given you new responsibilities? Do you regularly work extra hours? Are you spending a lot of time in video calls with your team members? Does your job come with an additional risk because of the pandemic? Highlight these factors in your conversation and you can make a strong case why you deserve a raise. 

5. Talk about new skills you can bring to the table:
If you have learned new skills during the lockdown, and have certificates to show off, it can give you a huge leverage. For example, if you are an IT professional and have got new security/compliance certifications, bring it to the notice of your bosses and HR. Tell them how your new skills can add value to the company. Remember, your appraisal conversation should hinge on what you can do for the company and not why you need a raise for personal reasons. 

6. Be transparent with your concerns:
These are tough times for everyone. So, if you have any concerns, you must raise them in a clear manner. For example, if work in getting in the way of your personal life, or if you are facing mental health issues from the extended stay-at-home orders, or if you feel your career growth has stunted, make notes and bring up the issues systematically during the meeting with your bosses. 

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7. Ask for a timeline for your promotion:
Companies across the board are putting their growth plans on hold, which means one’s career progression could be delayed. The best way to approach the subject is to ask for a timeline for your promotion. Talk to your boss about how your career trajectory would look. If you get a clear answer, point out that the company has pushed appraisals for some months, and be accommodating. Thank them, be patient, and wait for your time to come.

8. Set a follow-up date:
There is a high chance that your boss will give a straight no to your request because of a shortfall in income. While this means you cannot get a raise or a promotion immediately, it does not mean that the conversation should end there. Tell them you understand the situation and ask when you can revisit the conversation. This will help you come across as empathetic, and not someone who is only concerned about their own well-being. Also, you can resume the conversation at your next meeting instead of having to lay the groundwork and start the exercise all over again. 

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A lot of employees are going above and beyond the call of duty to help their companies navigate through these tough times. If you firmly believe you are one of them, follow these tips and have a talk with your boss. Remember to be confident, sensitive, and keep an open mind. Read these stories 10 Young Indians who redefined career goals for us. 

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