There comes a time in everyone’s careers that we begin to get itchy feet to move up the ladder. Whilst the timing may be perfect for some, who are offered promotions immediately, for the majority of us it’s going to come down to one simple question; “please sir, can I have some more?”
Asking for a promotion can seem like a gruelling process, rife with anxiety and stress, however it doesn’t have to be. Following a few simple rules can ensure that everyone gets through it intact and hopefully in a brand new role.
Like any other interview, asking for a promotion comes down to preparation. You can’t just expect your boss to know exactly why you’ve been doing well, simply because you tell them so, which means 80% of your work in the negotiation should be done before you enter the room. Gathering written praise from your co-workers for at least 3 months will show your value within the team, whilst creating a presentation from examples of your work, will help to jog your employer’s memory. It shouldn’t all be about the past however, which means that examples of what you’d like to achieve in the future are just as important.
Whilst you’re doing all this preparation you should have in mind who you’re going to be talking to, are they going to respond better to numbers or to anecdotes? And how can you implement this?
Don’t undervalue yourself. Some of us might struggle with bigging ourselves up, however studies have shown that sharing your achievements actually increases your motivation. In fact the phenomenon is so powerful that there are now several apps, with the sole aim of helping you share your goals with strangers, for when bragging to your friends is just too cringe worthy.
When it comes to promotion panels however you’re not going to be able to hide behind your phone screen, so avoid using anecdotes that refer to ‘we’ and instead focus on ‘I’, after all you’re not trying to get the whole team bumped up.
On the other hand, don’t be completely selfish with your comments, as you should be talking about what the company has to gain, and not just thinking about what you’ll do with your increased salary. Demonstrate how you could help the company move forward and explain what staying in the company means to you.
A mistake cited time and time again is employees attempting to bribe their employees into promoting them, by threatening to move on. Trying to force your bosses hand by looking for another job might work for some, but it will never foster a level of trust and can seem underhanded. In fact Lazlo Bock, Google SVP of People’s Operations, point blank refuses to issue counter-offers, stating that it incentivises the wrong employees.
The most important thing when hoping for a promotion is not to blindside your boss. If you’ve had the time to prepare, they should too, so make sure they know that you’d like to discuss your performance before dropping in on them… and in asking them what you’d need to do to qualify, they might even give you tips we haven’t even thought of!