- Workers who have been at a company for an extended period might feel that the company they work for owes them more.
- However, managers rarely hand out promotions without active input from workers.
- Being realistic, working hard, quantifying and tracking progress, rehearsing meetings, and managing expectations are the five key steps to get a promotion.
Looking to level up your career in 2023? Landing a promotion may be on your resolutions list, but it’s going to take more than good intentions.
Most workers feel that simply working hard should be enough to get a promotion, but that almost never the case.
Managers rarely hand out promotions, and employees also infrequently ask for promotions.
Despite this, some employees do get promotions and climb up the ladder at companies. The question is, “how?”
Here are the five steps to get a promotion — and if negotiations fail, how to prepare emotionally for rejection.
Step 1: Be Realistic
Are you an entry-level worker or a mid-senior level worker? Experience and the ability to demonstrate it are crucial factors determining success in negotiating promotions.
Simply put, the less experience you have to show, the less likely you will receive a promotion. Even highly experienced workers should not expect to receive a promotion quickly when they enter a new company.
Because you have proven yourself elsewhere does not mean a company feels you have fully proven yourself to them.
Step 2: Work Hard
To get a promotion, employees need to give employers good reasons to promote them.
Hard work will always be necessary, because it is the ultimate source of evidence employees can use to negotiate a promotion.
Keep in mind that showing up daily to work on time and ensuring you complete all of your tasks are not promotion worthy. Without a positive habit of working to even meet your role’s demands, you will fail to get a promotion and might even lose your job.
Doing this daily is only the first step to getting that promotion, but going above those base expectations is what’s important.
If you can’t easily identify ways to make an extra impact for your team, seek out guidance from your manager. There is no better way to get insight into what pain points the team is experiencing or gaps in productivity that need to be filled.
Being stealthy about trying to earn a promotion doesn’t make sense for anyone. You want your contributions to be known — and more importantly, have the impact of your actions felt by your manager.
Step 3: Track and Quantify Progress
Working hard does not necessarily mean showing your face a lot around the office or responding swiftly to emails even after hours.
Instead, hard work involves deep work dedicated to solving important company bottom lines.
To measure progress, first, make an active effort to understand your company’s bottom lines.
Next, consider how you can use your unique skills to bring your company closer to fulfilling its bottom lines.
Having figured this out provides employees with a way to measure progress.
Employees can use spreadsheets to measure and record progress, which they can eventually show to a manager the day they attempt to negotiate a promotion.
If you receive email from other managers, executives or peers praising your work, keep them and be ready to also present those when making a case for your promotion.
Tracking these messages and data points can and should start immediately after receiving a previous promotion.
These are also things that are important to note in a self-evaluation during an annual performance review. This keeps those accomplishments on record with HR, making them easy to verify when discussing a promotion request.
Step 4: Prepare and Rehearse
Now that you’ve worked hard and have proof that you deserve a promotion, you can begin to prepare to ask by setting up a meeting with your employer.
Before setting up that promotion negotiation meeting, though, employees should be capable of proving that they bring enough value to the company to justify a promotion.
Even with the highest-quality supporting data, if you cannot communicate its meaning to your employer, it is highly unlikely that you will receive a promotion.
Rehearsing what you will say during negotiations with your employer is crucial to increasing the odds of receiving a promotion.
Step 5: Manage Expectations
After obtaining experience and genuine career achievements, its easy to let expectations can get out of control.
Assuming you followed steps 1-4, you now have earned the right to request a promotion and have evidence to prove you deserved it.
Unfortunately, the hard truth is that sometimes even this will not be enough to succeed in negotiating a promotion.
The vital point to remember if you fail to get a promotion even after following all the steps for a successful negotiation is that it does not reflect your worth as an employee.
Not getting a promotion likely had little to do with an employer’s views of an employee and more to do with budgeting and other non-personal administrative issues.
It is essential not to take rejection personally. If you respond as if it is personal, you run the risk of reacting in ways that might ruin your reputation or even lead to getting fired.
While it’s disappointing to not get a promotion, keeping a level head and remaining dedicated to your work will keep you top-of-mind when the next promotion opportunity is available.