Did you know that 23% of employees feel they’re overlooked for a promotion?
There was a time when working hard, being a team player and having a professional approach to work were good enough to get you promoted. Today, they’ve become the minimum requirements for all employees.
Today, promotions and rewards are given to those professional who are not only great at what they do, but are also visible to the right people in the right way. Keeping your head down and slogging hard won’t cut it any more.
However, it’s not about sucking up to your boss. The key is to position yourself as an expert so that you’re roped in for all the important events and activities in your organization. It’s about being relevant, adding value to your company and ensuring that your efforts are visible to people not only within your company, but also the industry.
Here are 5 Ways to improve your visibility and get ahead at work:
1. Pick an area to build your expertise
Evaluate yourself thoroughly and make a list of things that you’re great at. You may have a talent to build teams, manage people and come up with creative business strategies. Look for opportunities to demonstrate those skills to a wider audience.
Every company has a variety of platforms such as intranet blogs, Q&A forums, slack channels, and yammer groups, where employees can share ideas and opinions. Leverage them to make yourself heard. For example, spend 10-15 minutes everyday, after lunch, to answer questions and offer advice on company forums and intranet sites. In your answers, you can even guide people to the right resources (such as relevant documents, presentations, spreadsheets) or connect them to the right people who can help them out.
Offer to speak or train at company events, as they provide a great opportunity to be visible to a large audience and network with influencers in your organization.
You can even post an article every week, about the best practices or tips about area of expertise (e.g team management), on your company’s blog, and share it across the organization through email, slack, company newsletter and other communication channels. In fact, you can remove any confidential information from it, and repost it on public sites like LinkedIn Pulse or Medium.com. It will increase your visibility both within your organization as well as your industry. This way you’ll become the go-to person for advice and help.
2. Raise Your hand for special projects
According to a survey by Career Builder, 71% of employees reported an unwillingness to take on additional responsibilities outside their assigned tasks.
Every company, big or small, is constantly coming up with new initiatives and experiments to grow their business. Look out for such special projects and volunteer to be a part of it. For example, your business may be evaluating a new HR solution to improve recruitment, or setting up a team to evaluate & report the work-life balance of employees. The results of such projects are generally sent to all the top managers in your company.
Join its team to get your name, skills and performance in front of the key people in your organization. Find out who’s in charge of the project and set up a 15 minute meeting to know more about it. In the meeting, pitch yourself as a suitable candidate by highlighting your skills and experience that are relevant to the project. Keep your boss in the loop so she doesn’t feel blindsided. Also, reach out to the staffing coordinator to ensure that you’re officially staffed on the project.
3. Grow your network
According to Fortune, people who make friends at work are 40% more likely to get promoted.
Share information with people outside your regular network of connections. If you’re in Marketing and you come across an interesting article on TechCrunch, share it with the folks in IT department. Or maybe you just read a great book about people management. Pass a quick message about it to your the HR head of your company. Spend some time reading about the latest trends and insights outside your usual area of work. This will help you build new relationship and get more exposure.
4. Ask for bigger and better roles
Watch out for the new projects that have been launched or are in the pipeline, find out who’s leading it, and who all are likely to get staffed on it. Every time you meet someone at work, whether at the cafeteria, or lunch table, or anywhere else, introduce yourself if you don’t know them and make it a point to ask them what they’re working on. It’s a great conversation starter and has helped me stay up-to-date about all the top projects in my company.
Once you have an idea of all the high-visibility projects in your office, reach out to the senior manager/VP-in-charge to learn more about the project, tell them that you find it interesting and would really appreciate an opportunity to join their team.
Most new projects are understaffed at the outset, and provide a great opportunity for the early team members to take up leadership roles. So be proactive and ask for a role that gives you more responsibility and visibility. Don’t wait to be assigned a role or you’ll have to settle for what you’re offered.
5. Speak about your work
According to CIO, careful self-promotion can actually lead to promotion.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the most productive employee who delivers stunning results, if people don’t know about it. I’ve been a part of many performance appraisal meetings and am regularly surprised to find that the bosses aren’t even aware of what their employees have accomplished. Consequently, they’re passed over for promotion.
I’m not saying that you need to boast or brag about your work but there are more professional ways to do let others know about it. For example, after every project milestone, create a presentation that reviews your team’s accomplishments and their impact on your business. Use numbers to speak about your work, instead of talking about who did what. For example, your latest marketing campaign may have increased customers by 12% in 2 months. Share it with your team as well as present it as a case study at company events so everyone knows what you’ve been up to.
After you complete a project, document what you learnt along the way and create checklists that will help others quickly execute similar projects in future. Share these documents across your organization through as many communication channels as possible – email, slack groups, company blogs and intranet forums.
Use the above tips to proactively increase your visibility at work, grow your network and work on the projects that excite you the most. They’ll help you become an expert in your organization and be in-charge of your career. Remember, “Out of sight, Out of mind”.