Appraisal Aftermath – How to Handle the Results

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Appraisal season has officially drawn to a close within the communications world, so most professionals will now be aware of promotions and pay rises…. or not.

Unlike the dark years that followed the 2008 crash, there are few pay freezes and many high performers are seeing decent pay rises and good, if not excellent bonuses. It might be however, that you have been left feeling underwhelmed and unrecognised, as not all businesses award personal performance. Equally, you may have been waiting for promotion and a pay rise before you seek your next move in order to improve your negation power.

Whatever your reasons, it is important a move is carefully thought through, rather than a knee jerk reaction, so ask yourself the following questions before you jump:

How was your performance measured?

One of the primary reasons for a disappointing appraisal result is because personal contribution has had little or no impact. This is most common in large owned businesses, where the overall performance of a business or even group will impact upon individual reward.  Short of an MBO there is really no solution to this sort of issue, so it may be a case of weighing up the pros of working for a larger well-known brand, versus a smaller independent business where you can have greater personal impact. A decision to move should not be solely driven by money, so consider what you are looking for in a business other than this.

Were you already undertaking the duties of the new role before your promotion?

It is often the case that individuals can start to undertake a role before they are officially promoted and given the Job Title. In this instance, it is common that a salary may have advanced first, so if this is the case, there may not be a big uplift at the point of the official promotion. It could also be that you have not seen any financial reward in advance or at the time of title change, in which case it may be wise to consider if you are being taken advantage of!

How does your salary compare to your peers in other PR Consultancies?

It is useful to know your market value before deciding how you feel about your incremental pay rise. It may be that you are already well remunerated compared to others doing a similar role in a different business. It I also worth looking at your whole package and the value of your benefits, as this is not something all businesses offer.  At the other end of the scale you may simply be poorly remunerated, which at worst could be a sign of poor financial management within a business and marginally better than that, be because the profits rather than people are being prioritised.

How does your salary compare to others at the same level in your current firm?

This is not just about the gender pay gap, as there are a number of factors that can influence the salaries of individuals at the same level and they may not all seem fair. Very often there are salary bands which allow individuals to see growth and be recognised for their achievements before they are promoted, but a good example of misuse is during the hiring process. Bands can often allow a firm to bring a new employee in on an increased salary, but they may not actually be as qualified as existing tem members, who may have progressed within the business to the same level. If you are aware that there are individuals less qualified on the same salary, or others undertaking the same role, but for more, the best first step is to address this with your boss. This is not something that you should be embarrassed to do, as any decent employer should want to know if an employee feels they are being treated unfairly, so they can address the issue rather than lose the person. Being a communications professional you should know how to get your message across in a tactful yet impactful manner.  If querying your salary isn’t an option, then you know what to do!

Is there room for negotiation?

It is always worth considering if there is room to negotiate before you jump ship, as there is no better way to make enemies and alienate people by using a job search and new job offer to seal that pay rise!  All of the points previously discussed, should help you to ascertain if there is room to negotiate after the appraisal result has been given to you. Also consider that while it is not always possible to negotiate a higher salary immediately, some firms will allow additional exceptional reviews at other points in the year. It might be there are particular targets you need to hit, or things to achieve before you can go to that next level, but it might not take you a year.

Always remember that a job move will be life changing and should have a positive impact.  Be sure to get good unbiased advice, as well do your own due diligence and you have nothing to lose.