Do you know your worth as an employee?
The quickest way to determine your worth as an employee is by your salary – how much you are getting paid each year. To the company, your salary is how much value you are bringing to them by working there.
We’re not here to discuss or debate the “fairness” of what companies pay their employees – there are many factors that go into how salaries are calculated.
Instead, our goal here is to understand how much value you bring to your company, and how to make sure you are being compensated for that value. Money is always a sensitive subject – you may not want to bring it up because you don’t want to be seen as “greedy”, or you may not know how to start the conversation. But if you know your worth and are ready for the next step in your career, here are tips on how you can ask for a promotion professionally.
Understand What You Are Trying to Achieve
So, you’ve decided you want a promotion – but why? What is it about your current situation that makes you want a change?
- If you’re tired of your job, then promotion isn’t the only option – you could explore any potential transfer opportunities within your company.
- If you’re tired of your company’s politics, then getting a promotion won’t fix that (it actually may make it worse)
Understanding what you want to achieve helps clarify the steps you need to take to get there. It may be a promotion, or it may be a different job in a different company. Before you start the process, you need to understand the goal.
Build Your Case
Now that you’ve decided you want to ask for a promotion, the next step is creating your case of why they should give you a promotion. You need to prepare the information like a court case and prove to the jury (in this case, your manager) that, based on the “evidence” of all you have accomplished so far, that you deserve a promotion.
- Projects you’ve led
- Targets you’ve met/exceeded
- The money you’ve made or saved for the company
- Past Performance Reviews
- Research from websites like salary.com
Look at your performance objectively (If I were the manager, does this convince me that they deserve a promotion?) This can be a reality check because, if you can’t find convincing data, then you won’t be successful when asking for a promotion.
But hey, that’s ok. Now you have a head start and know what to focus on so you can start building your case when you are ready to ask for the promotion.
Bring It Up During Performance Reviews
Timing is everything, and Performance Reviews are an ideal time to discuss your next steps with your manager. Performance Reviews are when companies start looking at their “bench strength” – who they have in the company that is either ready for a promotion or could be ready for a promotion soon. Once you know when your company’s Performance Reviews timelines, you can start preparing your case for promotion so, when you meet with your manager, you have all the information ready for discussion.
Show How Your Promotion Will Help the Company
When people want to be promoted, they think about it only in terms of how it is going to benefit themselves. Remember – you work for a company, and your job is to make the company successful. When asking for a promotion, it will help your case by explaining what you plan to do with this promotion. These could be ideas like…
- Developing a new part of the business
- Dedicating more resources to helping the business achieve their goals
- Making the company more money
- Creating new processes that will help the company out in the short- and long-term
Think about it from the company’s perspective…
- If I have 2 people who ask for a promotion
- Both explain why they deserve it
- But only one of them explains how the promotion is going to help the company achieve more success
Which person is more likely to get that promotion?
Be Prepared for “No” (And A Plan to Make it a “Yes” Eventually)
You may get lucky and receive the promotion, or you may get a “No” with different reasons for why. Whatever the reason is, it probably won’t feel good. It can be easy to get emotional (angry, frustrated, impatient), but you must remain calm.
Before you have the conversation, prepare a backup plan if you are told you “No”. You want to show that you are still committed to showing your value (and why they should want to eventually promote you), so you should focus on the next steps by asking about 2 key items…
- Development opportunities that will put you in a better position for the promotion in the future
- Timelines (Will these opportunities take 5 years? 1 year?)
If you get a “No”, you should walk away with a clear action plan on how to put yourself in a better position for a “Yes” next time.
Talking about promotions can be awkward, but it won’t be awkward if you prepare yourself. Focusing on the value you currently bring to the company and communicating the value you can bring when promoted will show your manager that you care about everyone’s success. That’s the type of person people want to promote.