If you’re ready for a promotion, you need to determine your real value in preparation.
BY TERESA FONG
Talking about getting a promotion with your boss is terrifying. Many people advise bringing a memo of your proven track records to the meeting, but how do you know what your contributions to the company are? How do you measure impact? And how do you make your case?
1. Creating a Brag Book
Start by creating a brag book. Your brag book is a folder of all the compliments you received from your clients, coworkers, managers, etc. Take a screenshot every time you receive one and dump it straight into the folder so you have a one-stop-shop for the later steps.
In addition to the screenshots, your brag book should contain a spreadsheet where you log your daily contributionsーsmall and large. I personally end my workday with an entry so my day’s wins are still fresh in my mind.
A brag book spreadsheet
Your brag book spreadsheet can track a multitude of things, but it should have at least the following:
PRODUCT ー the project you’re working on
OKR ー the ambitious goal the company decided for the product
PERIOD ー the length of time it took you to complete a task
EFFORT ー agile estimation of effort using the Fibonacci sequence
PROCESS ー skills used such as coding, UX design, project management
ACCOMPLISHMENTS ー the details of your tasks (ex: “I oversaw… I wrote…”)
METRICS ー the overall outcome and value (ex: “4 articles published”)
With the screenshots and the spreadsheet ready, you should know your contributions to your company.
2. Measuring Impact
Simply listing what you did in the past months to your boss will not help you move up. You’ll need to bring numbers, past examples of when you brought solutions, and any financial impact you influenced.
In the example below, one impact is showing that you already had four articles up as of the end of April even though the OKR stated it was a four-month goal. You can bring into the discussion how you facilitated the writing process and reduced months of work.
And remember: saving time is saving money. Translate how the time you shaved off someone’s work affected the bottom line.
The Metrics column will show some numbers, but for financial impact, you’ll need to do some digging.
3. Making Your Case
You have the courage, the brag book, and your quantified value to go into your boss’s office now. Does that mean you should? No. You need one more thing: a solid case.
Your next homework is to study what the next level contains. Getting a promotion means you will do more work. Your boss will question whether you are ready to take on more responsibilities, and so in most cases, you have to showcase that you are already doing what that level needs.
To prepare for this, ask your boss and teammates for regular feedback. Think about how you can align your strengths to your organization’s objectives while mitigating your weaknesses.
When you have crafted your talking points with evidence, you’re ready to set up a meeting!
I’d be doing an injustice if I don’t point out this fact: Women are less inclined to self-promote than men, even for a job.
If you are a woman, do the homework in step 3, but do not let that bog you down. If you don’t check 100% of all the requirements, you should still plant the seed that you want a promotion. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
As the article points out in the end, it’s hard to change behavior. If you are in HR and have the power to change the system, make the hiring and career growth processes unbiased and more accommodating.
If you feel like moving on instead of getting a promotion, check out the job board for new opportunities in the creative field.