Author: Lynne Roeder, MD Hays Singapore
You are a career driven individual, and for quite some time now you have felt more than ready to move up in your company. What started off as motivation and excitement to work towards achieving that next step has, over time, turned into a feeling of being frustrated and stagnant in your job.
You are well aware of the fact that promotional opportunities are available in your organisation, you have even voiced your career goals with your manager, yet nothing has come to fruition and you just do not want to have to wait until your next appraisal to have another discussion. There’s only so long you can carry on within a job that isn’t providing you with the recognition and development you deserve – so what should you do if you are still waiting for that promotion?
Firstly ask yourself, are you really ready?
To a certain extent, whether or not you get that promotion is down to you. Before you approach your manager to discuss a possible promotion, make sure you have done all you can to develop yourself and take advantage of the learning opportunities available at your organisation. In other words, be sure that you are as ready as you can be for this opportunity.
If possible, look at the job specification of your desired role. If this isn’t available, look to somebody within your organisation who already has this job. Where are your skills gaps, and what could you do to bridge them yourself? For example, you may be a marketing executive wanting to progress into a more senior marketing role, but are lacking people management skills. Therefore you would look for chances to upskill yourself before approaching your manager; be it through finding a mentor, going to industry events or through webinars and online tutorials.
By doing all you can to develop yourself, you save your boss some of the work and put yourself in a better standing when you ask for their support.
Preparing for your meeting
Now that you are starting to prove yourself by going above and beyond to excel in your current role, book a private meeting with your manager. Let them know what exactly you would like to discuss i.e. – your promotional plan.
Once the meeting is in the diary, it is important that you thoroughly prepare. By being as organised as possible you will demonstrate to your boss that attaining this promotion is something you are very serious about. Remember to ask yourself the below when preparing:
1. What do you want?
Start by solidifying in your own mind exactly what you want in terms of a promotion, plus what kind of support you may need from your manager to help you get there. For example, you may be a senior marketing executive wanting to progress into a marketing manager role. Whilst you are keen and willing to develop your people management skills independently, you also think a training course or mentor scheme could be of benefit.
You need to have what you want crystal clear in your mind before your meeting, as well as what kind of support you will need to help you get there. The below steps will help you present yourself in the best possible light and help you get the result you’re looking for.
2. Which opportunities are available?
So you know what role you want, and what kind of support it would take for you to adapt to this role, but do you know what existing opportunities you could take advantage of? Which programmes do your company offer internally which could help you meet your goals if you were given sign off? What about external training programmes?
If you aren’t 100 percent sure of what exactly you need to do to get to where you want in terms of progression, then prepare some questions to ask your boss surrounding this. Being in a senior position themselves, they should be able to provide some insight and guidance.
3. What about salary?
Whilst a promotion would equal an increase in responsibility, you shouldn’t go in asking for a pay rise straight away before this promotion has even been offered. Your primary motive for this opportunity should be the development, not the money, and this needs to be clear to your manager. However, when this conversation does come about you should be aware of how much money someone in your aspired position would typically earn by checking out our salary guides. Have this information ready for when it comes to negotiating a wage increase.
Arriving at the meeting equipped with the relevant information and questions surrounding your promotion, will show that you are focused, save your manager some time and ultimately give them one less reason to not help you progress.
4. Why do you deserve this?
With any promotional opportunity, there will be an investment in you, whether it is time spent training or money on a pay rise. Whatever it is, be ready to justify why you are deserving.
Think about the progress you have already made within your current role, and what you have contributed to the business as a whole. Include examples of key achievements, times you have exceeded your KPIs or received positive feedback from stakeholders. You should also consider which elements of your aspired role you are already doing. Voicing these will enable your manager to imagine you in this position.
Note down all you have done so far to upskill yourself. This will show that you are pro-active and enthusiastic about being better at your job. You should also point out any ways in which you have applied this upskilling to the role. This will allow them to picture a tangible return if they were to invest money and time into developing you.
Lastly, reiterate your loyalty to the company, and how you would like to have a budding long-term career with them. Close with the fact that whilst you have made a lot of progress within your role, you have got all you can from it, and now need their help in getting to the next challenge. Ultimately, you want your boss to know why you are a valuable asset to the team, indispensable and worthy of investing in.
During the meeting
Go into your meeting armed with the knowledge of what you want, how you can get it and why you deserve it, but remember the below:
1. Don’t bombard your manager
It is important that you don’t bombard your manager with all this information at once. Have a structure of how you want the conversation to go in your head, the key points you want to cover off and maybe even write it down. You need to go into this meeting composed, clear, and with the view of leading this conversation. Doing this will demonstrate that you are serious, prepared, and will impress your boss.
Open with what it is you want then let the conversation flow naturally, providing the rest of your knowledge when appropriate. If the question of salary comes up, then you have that information to hand. If not, then focus on getting the promotion or skills necessary for a pay rise before you ask for one. The key is to strike that balance between having a clear structure or checklist of things you want to cover off and being open to a two-way, fairly fluid conversation.
2. Keep an open mind
Whilst you may have your heart set on a specific promotion and route to success, remember to keep an open mind and think about what kind of alternatives your manager may offer. Your boss may not have the exact opportunity you were hoping for; for example, they may be willing to put you on a promotion plan with some specific KPIs, then review in a few months’ time. You should bear in mind that it is unlikely you will be offered a promotion there and then. Be ready for all outcomes and consider how flexible you are willing to be.
3. Remember to follow up
After the meeting, send a follow-up email to thank them for their time, as well as confirmation of what was discussed. Try and work with your boss in putting together a formal action plan. This will help keep you both on track with moving towards the next stage in your career.
4. Be prepared for a ‘no’
Whilst you have prepared as thoroughly as you can, understand that your boss may well refuse you this promotion, and they may well have good reason to. Be ready to accept this answer graciously and determine what the reason is.
You may have been given a “no” on the basis that there are still areas you need to improve upon. If so, get as much detail as you can on what these areas are, plus some advice on how to improve. Can your boss help progress you to a point where you can expect a “yes” from them next time you ask for a promotion?
Alternatively, you may be completely ready for the next step, but your company don’t have the resources to help you get there, be it a lack of budget or time. Is this likely to change anytime soon?
In both of these situations, you need to consider your options. If your current company can provide guidance and support with getting you promotion-ready, then great, embrace this and take advantage of the opportunities available.
On the other hand if, for whatever reason, they can’t offer the guidance and support that you deserve, then perhaps it’s time to move on to somewhere that can. If this is the case, check out some of our job search advice for support on your next career move. Ultimately, your continued career progression comes first, and you need to do all you can to keep this on track.
Thank you for reading and good luck with your promotion! For more advice about the world of work, visit our dedicated blog page here or click on one of the links below.