A fatter paycheque, a swankier office, an assistant to delegate all that boring paperwork to—it’s no wonder that many of us would love to get a promotion. Unfortunately, our bosses often seem oblivious to our high-powered needs.
The solution? Stop waiting for them to make the first move and ask them to promote you.
It might sound pushy, but 68% of the time, it works (and there’s an even higher success rate for those who only ask for a raise in pay). Making sure you’re in that winning faction requires just two things. You must convincingly sell the proposal to your manager and you must actually deserve the promotion!
How do you know if you deserve a promotion? Glad you asked …
Properly developed employees will be steadily entrusted with more responsibilities and tasks as they grow into a role, but if you realize you’re doing all the work of your senior counterparts without any of the rewards or recognition, then it’s time to ask for that to be rectified.
This is the one to be firm on–a company should give employees the job title and pay packet of the job they expect them to do. If your boss refuses, you should seriously consider taking your skills elsewhere. You will never reach your full potential in a business unwilling to invest in you.
A possible exception might be if there is a good reason why the company is unable to bump your salary at this particular point in time. In that case, a decent boss should still offer you the promotional job title and an IOU for a raise once the financial situation improves.
In a toss-up between promoting talent and loyalty, a smart boss will opt for the latter. Why? Because disloyal employees are expensive liabilities. They’re disengaged, which means they’re unproductive. And they’re incredibly likely to jump ship at the first opportunity, which generates turnover costs that grow exponentially (replacing entry-level positions costs 30-50% of their annual salary and a whopping 400% of their salary by the time they’re a top-level executive).
Don’t ask for a promotion if you’ve been at the company less than a year. Don’t ask for a promotion if you’ve been doing your current job for less than a year. Don’t ask for a promotion if you arrive ten minutes late and leave ten minutes early every day. If you haven’t demonstrated enthusiasm and commitment to the company, you’ll almost certainly be turned down.
Remember that while promotions come with a host of goodies, they also come with the expectation that your work value will go up. If you don’t love your job enough to put sustained time and effort into it, then not only will you not get a promotion, you shouldn’t want one–the extra pressure and expectation will only make you dislike work more.
Promotions are usually synonymous with extra responsibility. You’ll often be required to take on managerial duties, you’ll probably be accountable for any problems or mistakes and you’ll be expected to set a shining example to subordinates and be on-call for the company when needed. These tasks can all be challenging, so it’s worth taking some time to think about whether you really do want to take them on.
On the flip side, more responsibility means more power, and if you’re excited about being able to influence the business and implement changes, this is a good sign that you’re right for promotion. When you petition your boss, be sure to lay out examples of how you will manage the extra power and responsibility effectively. Securing a promotion means convincingly arguing that it will benefit the company, not yourself!
It may sound obvious, but this is the most important consideration of all. Businesses are hierarchies and the higher you climb, the fewer positions there are available. Even if you’re after a general promotion rather than a specific opening, you should still consider yourself in competition with both your colleagues and external candidates.
Where there are multiple colleagues who would also be eligible for a promotion, you must be noticeably better than all of them or risk your boss turning you down out of fairness or to avoid stoking division. And if your manager believes that an external candidate could do a better job than you, why wouldn’t they hire them instead?
When you pitch for your promotion, keep referring to evidence that you are an exemplary worker. Employers don’t promote just anybody – they promote the best.