Communications and PR executives have been in overdrive since the middle of March. A global pandemic and cultural unrest probably took up much of your time and energy professionally and personally.
As we move into what people are calling the “new normal” (what our team refers to as a “recalibration” stage) it’s important to look forward to your own professional future.
At this point you have most likely been working virtually for almost six months, and if you have gone back into the office you returned to a very different place. We now realize that we can be very productive from home, but at what cost? Our home and work lives have blended so completely that some of us are not quite sure where one stops and the other starts. Kids, dogs and spouses have been “featured” on our Zoom meetings. If we are lucky, our managers and teams have laughed and appreciated that we have lives outside of work, too.
Now that Fall has arrived and year-end reviews are in sight, clients who are working remotely have started to ask the same questions:
- How do I portray the long hours of project-juggling, creative problem-solving and successes large and small that are happening “behind the scenes” when I am not on video calls?
- When I am physically separated and not visible to management, how do I ensure my efforts and accomplishments are noticed, appreciated and rewarded?
Here are some tips to help you prepare for and negotiate a raise or promotion when working remotely from our own SparkinSight coaches at MVP Executive Search & Coaching:
Review, reach, recreate
We use the “Three R” approach to help our clients get promoted:
Are you seizing the opportunities that come with a healthy review culture? If your company has a strong follow up/reward system in place, take advantage of it by having evidence of your accomplishments on hand for those meetings.
If your company has a sparse review culture where managers are less aware of your contributions or even the parameters of your role, take this as an opportunity as well. Request regular meetings and feedback. When you convene, bring your own metrics to share. This will create ongoing benchmarks for your promotion case. Visual examples, case studies, KPIs and anecdotes will create conviction that supports your rationale as to why you should be promoted.
Keep a running list of accomplishments and wins throughout the year, including the projects that you have spearheaded, helped manage or contributed to. Your manager will get a better idea of how you’ve managed and led virtually (and seamlessly) if you bring context and real data to the negotiation. Even if you work closely with them every day, it’s still very important to make them aware of all that you contribute when not on a Zoom call.
Are you creating opportunities to raise your visibility with your manager, as well as the entire executive team? At a time when causes are activating so many of us, is there one that is relevant to the business, yet underrepresented at your company?
If so, leading or creating a task force around a meaningful cause can be a tangible and organic way to stand out positively to senior management. Extracurricular projects that benefit the organization and positively engage employees can become the differentiator between similar internal candidates going after the same position.
What do you envision yourself doing for the company when you get that big promotion? Bring that vision to life by creating a graphic presentation of what ‘next’ looks like. Describe practical and boldly ambitious ideas that demonstrate your fresh thinking and unique leadership signature.
A presentation is always better than words alone. Be visual, compelling and design a story that will make your boss proud that they chose you to take on a bigger role.
Remember, as a leader you always want to bring solutions to the table. Respect, empathy and contributions that help your team and your manager shine are proven ways to put yourself on the path to promotion.
Above all, don’t be afraid to ask for the promotion. You are your own advocate, especially while working remotely. If you can lay the groundwork ahead of time and create a solid and sensible case for yourself at review time, you’re setting yourself up for a more positive outcome and for a “Yes!”
If for any reason you do get a “no,” use this as a learning experience. Ask questions and find out what you can do to hone the skills or behaviors needed in order to get a promotion in the next cycle.
You deserve to be rewarded for your contributions, achievements and dedication. Being proactive and bringing solutions and real data to the table will enhance your case for your future.
Mary Olson-Menzel is co-founder of Spark Insight Coaching and founder and CEO of MVP Executive Search & Development, a national talent acquisition, leadership development and organizational management consultancy with offices in New York City and Chicago. Melissa Shahbazian is co-founder of Spark Insight Coaching.
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