Being turned down when trying to negotiate a pay rise isn’t ideal, here are 5 things to do to not let it get you down.
As the world gears itself up to something more approaching the “situation normal” (in a business context at least), the global demand for workers is high. This means that workers are in a great position when negotiating starting salaries for new roles but also for existing workers who feel it’s time to negotiate a pay rise.
However, even the best and most seemingly fair pay rise negotiations don’t always go to plan, even if you followed our handy littleguide to negotiating a pay rise!
So, the question is, what’s next? How do you manage your feelings about the negotiation not being successful and move forward? Here are the 5 things to do when your pay rise request isn’t successful.
1. Keep calm & carry on
You may be feeling a mix of emotions, from disbelief to frustration to disappointment and anger. All of these – and any other – feelings following your pay rise negotiation being rejected are fair and warranted because the natural human reaction is, “They don’t think I’m good enough!”
The reality? The reasons behind the rejection will generally be manifold, with a range of elements that may have nothing to do with you or your ability.
So, take a deep breath (literally or metaphorically) and remain as calm as you can. This will be ultimately more useful in the long run than letting off steam then and there.
2. Feedback time: Ask why you didn’t get the pay rise
Good managers or business leaders will generally have their reasons laid out as to why you didn’t get the pay rise, but If you feel it’s not been explained in full, question why.
However, if you do ask for more information, be prepared that it might get personal. While there may be some reasons around business or economic conditions, company strategy or budget constraints, it might also be about your performance.
For some, this will be hard to take onboard, however, it’s also great info for deciding on what to do next. It’s also the chance to express some disappointment but, again, try to stay calm if you do and don’t let it become too emotional.
3. Take time to reflect
Once you’ve processed the disappointment of the pay rise rejection, and hopefully, the feedback that outlines why things went the way they did – and, maybe had a grumble to workmates or your partner or friends about it – do some honest reflection.
De-personalise the situation (tricky, but give it a try) as much as possible. Look at the facts as laid out by management from their perspective and also as though this situation is about someone else.
Approaching the pay rise rejection in this way may bring some objectivity to understanding the situation better. It’s also the moment to be honest with yourself and embrace the fact that while so much of our life is focused on “wins”, they don’t always come off!
So, rather than getting caught up in “losing” and letting the notion of this be a hurdle to progress, reframe it as an opportunity to work out what needs to be done to get closer to a win next time around.
4. Plan for what’s next
Reflection as above will hopefully clear your mind and get you moving on to finding a solution for what to do next rather than getting mired in the problem of not getting the pay rise you wanted.
Look at the reasons why the pay rise request was rejected and consider what you can work on to remove some of the hurdles to clear a path to success in a pay rise negotiation next time around.
Think about reaching out to a champion in the business or mentor or peer to work through this with and bounce ideas off.
5. Be bold going forward
For many, the rejection will feel like a setback, and while some time to process it is critical, try not to get mired down by it all. Once you’ve had the chance to work through the whys and formulated some of the hows to a success next time a pay rise negotiation opportunity comes around, jump back on the work pony and get galloping.
To help you with this and keep you committed to the business, you might discuss with management other non-salary work perks that will make you feel valued. These can be anything from more flexibility around hours, upskilling via external training or working in other areas of the business, additional annual leave days or working on a more formal career path plan.
Another option is that the pay rise rejection could also mean it’s time to look for a new job.
Don’t do this as a knee-jerk reaction to having your pay rise rejected, but if you honestly feel you deserved it and that the reasons for the rejection weren’t justified, take a look around to see what roles are out there and what others in similar roles are being paid.
Most of all, be confident and bold about your professional future, whether you decide it’s within the company or as an opportunity elsewhere.
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