New Year, Same Job? Here are eight often overlooked opportunities for getting ahead this year without changing your job.
1. If you are very efficient in your role, could you take on a greater workload?Unemployment is low, hiring is tough and training takes time. If you can get more done for your team without the added headcount, that has measurable value to the company.
2. Have you built a strong network in the industry? You can help identify top candidates for internal hiring. Again, hiring is tough these days and internal referrals often make efficient and profitable hires. Some companies have internal referral bonuses. If yours doesn’t, you can suggest starting one and get paid for referring people who are qualified (and that you like) for roles.
3. Have customers who love you? You can create a strategy to ask for referrals. A Texas Tech University survey showed that 83 percent of happy customers are willing to provide a referral, but just 29 percent of customers end up giving one. Try asking more frequently. You don’t have to be in sales to get referrals – you just need to propose to your management team an incentive to keep you interested.
4. Ready for training? Ongoing education and professional development is good for you and for your company. Employees return from training with better skills and a motivated mindset. If you have your eye on development opportunities, ask your company if they will pay for them. The increase in knowledge may also warrant an increase in pay – so you could get a double win.
5. Acquire certifications. If you excel in your profession, look for external certifications that validate your mastery. A certification is a competitive advantage for you and it displays your commitment to professional quality. Certifications also enhance your employer’s brand image. Similar to training, if you ask, your employer may cover the cost of the certification, a pay increase may be in the cards or management might be able to give you work time to complete the process.
6. Trade up your tech. Would a new laptop, a tablet or smartphone help you to be more productive? Write out the potential benefits of upgraded tech versus the costs and propose it. Tech-savvy employees are usually more efficient, leave a better documentation trail and are role models for those lacking digital dexterity. Your boss may have no idea about the latest trends in productivity solutions and software. If the numbers make sense, a “yes” may be forthcoming.
7. Ask for flexibility. If you are a valued employee with a track record of performance, you likely have earned the trust required for flexibility. Although some companies have very explicit remote work policies, many companies are not so rigidly defined (especially small or midsized firms). Of course, not every role can be done from home. But if flexibility would increase your job satisfaction or help you to minimize some of the costs and stress caused by trying to get it all done with a rigid schedule, it’s worth a conversation.
8. Inquire about expenses. Are you spending a lot commuting or paying for a gym? Corporate benefits are constantly evolving based on options available and things required to keep a company competitive. Your company may have options to buy mass transit passes or gym memberships at a bulk discount. Even if that is not an option, they may be able to take out those expenses before taxes, saving you the tax rate.
As the “CEO” of your career, you have the most invested in advocating for the things that can bolster your satisfaction and motivation. Talented, productive employees who are happy are very good for business. Great managers understand this equation – but they may be too busy to think of additional ways to stoke their employees. The old adage is true – “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Parlay your excellent performance in 2017 to advance your compensation and perks for 2018.