Although the coronavirus pandemic has introduced many new challenges for workers, about 3 out of 4 employees say they’ve actually managed to maintain or improve their productivity, according to a recent Boston Consulting Group report.
With that in mind, it may seem like a good time to ask for a raise. However, that’s one of the worst things you can ask your boss right now, says bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch.
That’s because there’s probably not room in the budget for employee raises right now. As a business owner with 25 employees, Welch is watching her bottom line very closely these days — and she’s not alone. “The pandemic has turned our economics upside down,” Welch tells CNBC Make It. “And so, like most business owners and company executives right now, I am watching costs with a constant mix of dread and uncertainty.”
It’s not that you don’t deserve to be compensated for your effort. “If you are thinking to yourself, I am not being paid what I deserve, I don’t doubt you’re right,” Welch says. “Many people are working harder than ever right now.”
In fact, working remotely may mean that you’re never truly away from your desk and are putting in more hours. You may also be taking on additional tasks these days because of layoffs. “Sadly, a lot of companies let people go back in March and April, and some are still letting people go. That means more work for the people still there,” Welch says.
However, the timing just isn’t right to push for a raise.
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If you do ask for a raise right now, Welch says you probably won’t be let go. “But you will take a hit to the goodwill you are accumulating during this time. And that’s not a small thing, because I predict that goodwill will be rewarded when this whole thing is over,” she says. That’s what she plans to do.
“We want to pay our teams more, but we can’t right now. We will when we can. Just don’t ask us now,” Welch says.
There is one caveat to this advice, according to Welch. You can ask for a raise if you have another legit job offer that you are ready, willing and able to accept. “In that case, go for it. You have nothing to lose,” Welch says.
But otherwise, just hang in there, Welch says. “This is a terrible time for employees and bosses alike. It’s a fragile time. Keep your goodwill dry — it will be worth something when the battle is over.”
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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.