For most of us, our current job is only a step towards the ultimate position we want to see ourselves in the organization. This aspiration often puts us in a spot where we are required to strike the conversation around our growth or promotion with the decision makers – our managers, the HR and the leadership at large. While there is no absolute approach to it, following are a few tips on how you can ask for promotions.
Be candid: If you are confident about the impact your contribution has made, it is best to be candid about it and strike an open conversation with your manager about your promotion. But before you talk ensure you have done your due diligence in terms of substantiating your claim with valid evidences of the value add you have brought about. Candid talks are most effective when you share good rapport with your reporting manager. It helps in explaining your argument better.
Stay agile: In case a team member is on their way out and you are convinced that you are capable of filling the vacant position, you must immediately start working towards it before the organization decides to hire externally. Stay agile to the opportunity, understand the role and match it with your existing skills. Next, have a forthright interaction with the outgoing person and see if you can be recommended. While it is a chance, this indeed is a step worth a shot depending on how convinced you are about your ability to meet what the job demands.
Try skip levels: If you are not too comfortable proposing your promotion directly with your manager, or if you feel your immediate boss is not the ultimate decision making authority, talking to a skip level leader might be effective. But for that step to earn you the desired dividend, you must start working towards it much before the assessment of your performance begins. Make yourself visible to senior leaders by stepping up your participation and engagement in the organizational activities. Be proactive in sharing ideas or taking up extra responsibilities so the management knows you are capable of doing more than what is entrusted to you at present. However, talking to skip level leaders doesn’t mean you forego talking to your immediate boss. Keeping them in the loop will help building trust and respect in your professional dealings.
Document everything: Keep a record of all your contributions, especially on occasions when your presence made a significant difference. Document instances when you would have earned applause of your customers, or a colleague sent you a positive feedback about your work, or someone thanking you for your help. These details will help building your case for your promotion. Drawing examples from your previous tenure in a different organization will also help. If you have recommendations from your previous employer on your profile that will be an added advantage.
Keep the conversation alive: Continue to follow up with all the stakeholders involved in making decisions about your promotion. While you should not sound too desperate, it is advisable to formalize your conversation through occasional emails. Also keep the decision makers updated about your achievements – big or small. Such steps will help you stay on top of recall and you will have better chances of being considered whenever opportunities open up.
Ultimately, if you are confident of your capabilities and you know you deserve and can handle bigger responsibilities, do not shy away from demanding it. Add a professional flavor to your demand. Help others to see why they should trust you with more. Most importantly, no matter how your first attempt shapes up – in your favor or otherwise, you would have put the seed in your leaders’ minds and sooner or later it will come your way.