Worker negotiates promotion on video call.
When asking for a promotion during the current pandemic, make sure your work is visible to your managers and know exactly what it is you're asking for. — Getty Images/damircudic

Despite the pandemic’s wide-ranging and persistent impact, our lives — and careers — must continue. COVID-19 lockdowns started in March 2020, so whether you’re up for a performance review now or in a few months, you need to be prepared on how to have a frank conversation with your manager.

A performance review is traditionally the moment to ask for a promotion or a raise, but considering the economic times, that negotiation might be a bit different. Here’s how to tactfully ask for a promotion during the coronavirus pandemic.

[Read more: How to Ask for a Raise During a Pandemic]

Read the room

If your company has been furloughing employees or has instituted a hiring freeze, it might not be the right moment to ask for a promotion.

However, if the company seems solvent, a pandemic might be the right moment to ask for a promotion. There are many small businesses that are thriving during this time. As business owners restructure to accommodate our new remote work paradigm, it could be the right moment to ask for more responsibility and even more pay.

“The timing of asking for a promotion is always a tricky part,” said Lida Citroen, hiring expert, in an interview with Ladders. “Given what we’re all dealing with now, people are stressed, on edge, concerned. They’re also reinventing, repositioning and recalculating how we’re all doing work. So, that being said, it actually could be a good opportunity if you see the company shifting and reallocating resources to say you’d like a position of more responsibility.”

Pay attention to macro market trends in your industry, as well as the current financial situation of your organization. These two positions can help clue you in on when to ask for a promotion.

Know what you’re asking for

The tangible impact of a job promotion could be one of a few things: a raise, more responsibility, a title change or more professional opportunity. Maybe your company can give you one or more of those outcomes, but not all of them. Think about what a promotion would signify to you. It’s important to know what would make your experience at the business feel meaningful.

Some experts recommend going into the discussion with a goal as well as a back-up request. For instance, it’s possible that your boss won’t be able to grant pay raises at the moment. However, maybe the reason you want a promotion is to get the management experience.

Consider how your career goals align with the needs of the company. Ask for added responsibilities that take work off your boss’s plate while still providing you with new professional development opportunities.

When you go into the negotiation with a few concrete ideas, it shows your commitment to the business and willingness to be flexible during a trying time. Be prepared with some concrete ideas that will make a meaningful difference in your work life: a bonus, a title change, expanded benefits or professional development opportunities. It never hurts to ask.

[Read more: Daymond John's 'Powershift' Explores Taking Control Before, During and After Negotiations]

Remote work often requires heightened focus and attention. How are you communicating this effort to your manager?

Make sure your work is visible

There are many hidden pitfalls to working from home. One of those drawbacks is your work becomes less visible. Remote work often requires more focus, energy and time out of your day dedicated to getting things done. It’s critical to document all that extra effort.

Communicate with your manager and other team members frequently. Do what you can to make your work product as visible as possible. It’s important that others see your high level of commitment, effort and engagement despite the extenuating circumstances. As with every negotiation, it helps to be prepared with some KPIs and business results to back up your promotion request.

“Just because you’ve been working remotely, doesn’t mean asking for a raise is off the table or inconsiderate,” said Tara Goodfellow, career consultant, on MSN News. “Yes, these are trying times. Yes, many folks are without employment, are underemployed or are furloughed. However, many of us are working extra hours, wearing extra hats, taking on new responsibilities and ramping up pretty quickly.”

As you prepare your case for a promotion, factor in the many adjustments and changes you have made to help keep the business afloat during the pandemic.

Demonstrate your future impact

The pandemic has taught us that the only thing that’s certain in the next few months is uncertainty. Focus on the ways you can contribute to leading the company through this crisis. What are the ways you can help other employees be productive working from home? What are some ideas you have for engaging with customers online? What skills have you developed during this time that you can share? Show how your growth mindset and flexibility can help move the business forward, even without a specific business target.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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