The performance appraisal period is just around the corner. For most of us, we see this as an opportunity to make our expectations known to our managers, so that we can be one step closer to our career goals and ask for a promotion and pay raise.

However, this also means we would be expected to lead the conversation about our career aspirations with our managers, the human resources team as well as the management team at large - which can be intimidating for some.

Everyone's growth path is different and there is no absolute approach to how each of us should progress in our career. However, you can take charge of yours by learning the steps on how to get promoted, pay raise or bonus.

And in order to get that promotion opportunity, try to work on your career advancement strategy. Plan ahead and do the necessary steps to boost your chances of getting it.

when should you ask for a promotion?

There is always an appropriate time to ask for a promotion and the timing may vary from everyone else. The right time to ask for a promotion is when you have proven yourself that you deserve it and not just because you feel you are ready.

While this sounds like an 'easier said than done' situation, what you actually need to do is pluck up the courage to have an open and honest conversation with your manager.

 tips to plan your promotion strategy
 tips to plan your promotion strategy

1. be the first to initiate a discussion

Nobody will know that you are prepared or want a job promotion or a pay raise unless you make your intentions known. The first step is to let your manager know by initiating a discussion. It does not hurt to be forthright and find out how you can position yourself to get to a higher level and be promoted, or be considered for a pay raise.

You should always ask your manager about your career progression path in the organisation. It's also the perfect time to proactively ask for a boost in your career is after a successful project launch or when your contributions start to have an impact on the bottom line. These are all good indications that you are ready for more responsibilities such as taking on a new project or expanding your role to other functions or markets.

The key to a good promotion strategy is to manage your expectations, and avoid coming across as too aggressive in your request. There might be a chance that you need to prove yourself further by meeting stretch goals so that your manager can build a better case for your job promotion to the management team. At least for now, you’ll know what you need to do to get a better compensation or progress further in your career.

2. don’t wait for performance appraisal periods

Should you ask for a promotion or wait? While performance appraisal may be a great opportunity to ask for promotion or a salary increment, you can also choose to raise it during other times. Larger companies are ditching formal performance appraisals and introducing regular check-ins with their staff. This approach reflects the company’s agility to keep up with the changing business environment due to digitalisation and evolving customer demands. Employees’ job scopes are regularly revised to better address the current work challenges and opportunities.

These regular check-ins also provide managers and staff with the flexibility to discuss resource planning, revised goals and career development paths. This way, expectations can be better managed throughout the year. It is also a great platform for you to share any new ideas that have the potential to improve outcomes. Sharing well thought-out ideas with your manager regularly shows your initiative and readiness to take on more job responsibilities.

Since these meetings are not fixed, you can even proactively ask your manager for a meeting. You can highlight recent accomplishments and new responsibilities that are not reflected in your job scope.

Through these conversations, you can start building a case to ask about your chances for a promotion or pay raise. However, do take note to avoid talking about these topics when your manager or boss is having a bad day or in a bad mood.

3. make it a meaningful conversation with your boss about promotion

The most important part of your promotion strategy is to prepare for the conversation with your manager. You should make sure that you have a record of all of your contributions in the company, especially on the occasions when your inputs have made a significant difference to the situation. Save emails of positive feedback that you’ve received from your customers or colleagues in a separate folder on your desktop and have them ready to show to your manager. Aside from your resume of accomplishments, you should also support your claims with hard numerical data and other tangible evidence to build an even stronger case.

Nothing can be more disappointing to your manager than a baseless request and a proof of validation of your hard work will be useful in this instance. This is why it is critical that you come well-prepared for the promotion conversation with them.

You have to prove why you deserve to be promoted . Most importantly, no matter what the outcomes are of your first negotiation attempt - in your favour or otherwise - you would have planted the seed in your manager’s mind and made your expectations known. This ensures you will stay top of mind for any job promotion or pay raises when the opportunity arises or when the time is right.

things to note when requesting for promotion
things to note when requesting for promotion

things to consider when asking for a promotion

While you’re in a discussion with your boss about a potential job promotion, you should not threaten to leave in hopes of getting a counter offer.

Employers can often see through such tactics, and once they feel that your values are no longer aligned with the company’s, they might not be inclined to retain you.

Apart from a career advancement or salary increase, you should also be open to discuss other benefits like your compensation packages or remuneration packages. Perhaps such benefits might better align with your expectations too.

how long should you stay at a job without a promotion

Typically, two years is the minimum duration that most people would wait to get a promotion, in order to keep them staying. 

Any time between working for four to five years and without getting promoted will risk damaging your future career prospects. The average time for one to be promoted is also about every three years and that's how often one should expect to get a promotion.

There are companies with toxic workplace cultures that play favouritism and engage in unfair practices. We might inevitably find ourselves surviving in a toxic workplace and observe situations where bad employees get promoted, while high performers fail to get promoted. Such a toxic work environment will be detrimental to your mental health overtime. Once you find yourself dealing with and surrounded by toxic coworkers, it might be a good idea to look for other opportunities that can provide you a healthier work environment to thrive in.

Some people say timing is everything, but it ultimately boils down to the current economic state. Hong Kong SAR is expected to report moderate growth this year, and companies are taking advantage of it to invest in areas of potential growth. Companies are also hiring talent with niche specialisations and upskilling their talent pool so that they can leverage technology to become more efficient and productive.

This is a great time for you to connect with your managers to show how your work has made a positive impact on the company’s goals and how you intend to continue to upskill yourself to add more value to the company. This will help kickstart the conversation about a possible promotion. In brief, we hope that this article has helped you to step up your career ladder.

work with randstad.

If the career advancement that you've been waiting for is taking too long to come, your next step is to connect with us. With specialisations in various industries, our recruitment specialists are here to help find job opportunities that are more suitable for you. 

You can also speak with our specialised recruiters, who have in-depth knowledge about the industry and job market as well as employer insights to better consult you on your career development.

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