It’s that time of the year again—that time when your boss calls you for a one-on-one meeting, shares with you his or her evaluation of your work performance last year...and stops at that. A couple of your other officemates may have been promoted, but sadly, you weren’t. All you received was a measly salary increase (or maybe not even that) since you started a couple of years ago, and you couldn’t help but think, “Ano, resign na ba ko?”
Before you consider that, think first: what could you be doing wrong? Maybe, there’s a way to get that boost in your corporate ladder. Take a look at these tips from actual bosses and human resource managers:
1) Know exactly what you want
Perhaps, you want a raise, but you don’t want to take on more responsibilities. Perhaps, you want to be recognized as a “senior,” yet your standards are the same as your junior peers. Answer this: “Ano ba talaga gusto mo?” A promotion means your standing as an employee changes (which means you have more work or a more complex job) and that you stand out among your colleagues.
Take it from Irvin Perono, Senior Operations Manager of Transcom Asia-Pacific (Manila-Tiendesitas Site). He advises guys who want a promotion to set goals. “Having an ultimate objective is very important. Once you are in a company, envision where you want to be in the next six months or in the next five years in terms of your career.” That’s how you can determine if the next job level suits you. And to know if you’re on the right track? Irvin advises, “Revisit your actions and your results from time to time to check if you are still aligned with your personal goals.”
2) Measure your performance
To set the right goals, you have to be aware of your current standing and how you can improve to be promoted. As Irvin puts it, “Know your numbers, as numbers represent your performance. It's necessary to know where you're at. It will help you get what you want at work. Don’t settle for a mediocre performance.”
He adds, “A good way to start a conversation with your boss is knowing your metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs). When you ask about a promotion, you need to have your numbers to back you up. Be prepared with discussion points and make it clear as to why you want to be promoted.”
Further, to really assess yourself, get your supervisor or peer’s opinion. “Ask for feedback,” says Irvin. “Feedback is crucial; if you are not getting any, ask for it. It's the best avenue to discuss your career path with your immediate manager and how to achieve it. Ask for your strengths and weaknesses. Cultivate further your strengths and transform your weaknesses into an advantage.”
3) Make your intentions known
Nothing will happen, really, if you just wait and keep your assessments and desires for a promotion to yourself. Fleur Therese Saguid, Head of Human Resources for First Circle (a financial technology firm) and previously the HR and Operations Manager for Zomato points this out. “When employees are asked about what it takes to get promoted, their usual responses would be having the right skills, building a good relationship with team members, delivering outstanding output consistently or showing initiative and leadership. But all these efforts might not even matter if you don't express your interest in taking a bigger role.”
Fleur recounts, “I saw a lot of employees that are more than qualified to move up, the only problem is that they think their hard work will always speak for itself. Apparently, that's not enough for most cases. If an opportunity for a promotion comes up and you know that you deserve it, don't be afraid to have a dialogue with your boss.” She advises that during this meeting, you can “talk to your boss about your accomplishments, how much value it brought to the company, and that you are ready to deliver more by taking on bigger responsibilities.”
4) Work with your mentor—or look for one
Your direct supervisor should be the one lobbying for your promotion. Not only does he or she know the technicalities or the administrative implications of the career move for you, but he or she can guide you through the tasks you will take on, too. If, for some reason, your boss doesn’t fit the bill, get guidance from someone who’s “been there, done that.”
Fleur advises, “Look for a mentor in the organization—look for someone more senior than you who can give you the proper coaching, network, and attitude. This person may not be your direct manager but anyone senior in your company will do. You'll be surprised that after some time, you'll be shining as bright as that person.”
Additionally, seeking feedback from a mentor can be advantageous, according to Fleur. “Whether good or bad, constantly asking for feedback helps you improve your performance and gives you more visibility to the higher ups. They will see your progress on a regular basis and that will put you on the list for promotion right away.”
5) Ultimately, decide for yourself
Sure, your superior or manager can guide your career decisions, but whatever role you take (or those you decline) should be according to your own goals and interests.
“Take charge of your career,” says Ritche Guiang, DipIR, MIR, a senior manager/HR business partner (company confidential). “Realize that you need to manage yourself in order to get the position/promotion that you want. Your manager will be able to help but the initiative must first come from you. Taking responsibility for your own career is the first step in the process.”
He adds, “Don’t aim to get promoted for the wrong reasons. Being a people manager, for instance, is not for everyone. Take care not to fall into this trap. Some may be better off and effective as individual contributors and subject matter experts. Try to see the different career paths available to you before taking the plunge.”
6) Throughout your career, mind your attitude
Sure, doing a fine job creating ideas, crunching numbers, driving sales, or achieving your company’s other objectives is a big factor for a promotion. However, how you act and carry yourself at work matters, too. Engr. Rolando B. Sanchez, the founding Principal of RB Sanchez Consulting Engineers, points out that, “Attitude is more important than skill. No matter how much of a genius you are, if you don't have the right work ethic and the right attitude, employers will most definitely have second thoughts about hiring you.”
Irvin echoes Engr. Sanchez’s thoughts and identifies a key value that significantly affects your attitude. “Respect should be given to everyone in the company regardless of the position. The amount of respect you give to others will also the same respect that they will give you in return. How you treat others will also reflect how you treat your people.” Never forget this, especially if you’re vying to be promoted as a supervisor or team lead.
7) Be loyal to your company—and know what kind of loyalty matters
Promotions should never be about the seniority of the employees, but rather how they made their stay count. Engr. Sanchez sums it up perfectly, “Loyalty is not measured by how long you stayed. You could hire a fresh graduate who has more good intentions and concern for the company's well-being than an employee who has stayed with you for twenty years.”
He also notes the value of that passion for growth (not only personal growth but the betterment of the company, too) that every employee must have. “I feel like some employees nowadays focus too much on looking for what they could get from a company, and less on what they could contribute to the company. Compensation for your work is important, of course, but making sure you deserve it is more essential.”
“Employers eye those who take initiative even when they are not asked to,” Engr. Sanchez says. “Expressing genuine concern for the welfare of the company by suggesting ways on how to improve the system shows leadership and determination.” So when a promotion has been elusive, think of that give-and-take nature of any career and show what you have to offer. In other words, hindi ito charity, at hindi pwedeng ikaw lang ang makikinabang. Right?