So, you’ve gone above and beyond and put in work that is definitely worthy of a promotion or a raise. Amazing!
But… how visible was that work?
If your manager isn’t aware of your accomplishments (as they relate to you, and not just your team) or doesn’t understand how your contribution is directly benefiting the org, it will be tough to make your case when the time comes for your performance review.
Your manager relationship should be about far more than just doing what she asks of you; it’s about speaking up for yourself and making it crystal clear that you (and all of your unique assets and drives) are an employee worthy of a long-term investment—i.e., a raise.
We have a simple success habit you can adopt today (and weekly from here on out) that will greatly increase your opportunities, especially if you’re already killing it in your role:
Share your accomplishments regularly with your manager.
This is a basic self advocacy skill, and we’ll break it down.
Successful People Share Their Successes
You might be the most qualified person in the room, but if it is between you and Joe down the hall, who is in cahoots with your manager and regularly shares his impact… Joe will get the promotion.
When you lack the confidence to highlight your accomplishments or self-advocate for more opportunities, decision-makers won’t feel confident about opening doors for you.
And if you are quiet about your contributions, it is very possible that they simply will not know the full scope of your work and success.
One of the most telling habits of successful people is their desire to raise their visibility and their willingness to share their successes with others — whether that be in the form of mentorship, publication, or simple step one: telling their manager what they are proud of.
You need to actively work on making your accomplishments visible if you want to position yourself for a raise or promotion. If you expect to build your manager relationship in once-per-year performance reviews only, then don’t expect your manager to advocate for your new opportunities.
Start Accomplishment Tracking Now
At the end of each week, take ten minutes to note the things you accomplished, and store them somewhere you won’t lose them (we have an Accomplishment Tracker at The Forem that is built in and stores your work privately in your profile).
Remember, don’t spend time documenting your deliverables. Focus instead on the work that makes you proud—the work that connects back to your unique assets and feels raise-worthy.
When did you go above and beyond for your role?
When did you assume leadership of a project?
When did you pitch and execute a new initiative?
If you’re not sure that something you did is an accomplishment, ask yourself if your actions correlated to increased revenue or saved revenue. This might take some time to hone in on, but if you can frame your contribution in terms of either making or saving money for your org, you’ll get your manager’s attention.
Examples from Forem-ers…
“In Q1, I developed and scaled a new pitch which was adopted by three teams and will generate an incremental $3M in sales across all teams.”
“As a strategic support lead to Sales in financial services, I increased my “influence to revenue contribution” by 40% YoY.”
“Initiated a new campaign metric that measures brand value (BVM), which has allowed us to maintain a higher price point on 4 key lines of business, which drove $150M in sales.”
Sure, sometimes our work doesn’t correlate directly to revenue, and that’s okay. It’s still important to connect your accomplishment to something equally valuable, such as improving productivity, delivering solutions to obstacles, or an action that relates back to your company’s culture and values.
“Created a new workflow when onboarding new vendors, so we get paid faster with reduced number of hours.”
“Increased customer satisfaction for 200 customers by responding to support emails 20% faster.”
If you’re stuck, brainstorm the most-discussed KPIs in your department—organic search traffic, CSATs, conversion rates, etc.—and try to write a sentence that correlates your unique actions with one or two.
It doesn’t have to be ground-breaking to be worthy. It just has to showcase that you’re consistently acting in the best interest of your org.
Framing your accomplishments in terms of making or saving money for the company is especially important for getting a raise. Upping your salary is an investment; you need to make your higher-ups feel confident that you’re capable of a significant ROI.
Be Brave, Be Brief, and Be Gone
If you adopt this success habit and stay on top of tracking your accomplishments, all you’ll have left to do at the end of the month is to drop some clear bullet points into an email and press send.
One of the biggest concerns we hear from Forem’ers about this step is the possibility that their manager will be annoyed or put off by “bragging.”
Let this one sink in… you are not bragging. You are making her life easier by raising your visibility and helping her keep a pulse on her team members’ strengths.
As a decision-maker and a leader of your org, this is the sort of intel that lets her know when and how to fight for your next role, promotion, or raise.
The only way this will become annoying is if you…
Oversaturate the email, or
List items that don’t correlate with a larger company impact.
While she is definitely interested, she is also busy. If you want your manager to read and internalize your accomplishments, keep them as brief and as simple as possible.
Make sure you’re also not wasting her time with a list that does little more than confirm that you’ve done your job.
Successful self advocacy is persistent, but also transparent. Some months you might send shorter lists than others. That’s ok. Be thoughtful and honest about your accomplishments, and don’t feel pressured to fill in the page; you’ll only pull attention away from more meaningful contributions, and (worse) set the expectation that your monthly email isn’t worth her time.
As you begin regularly recording your accomplishments and making them seem more tangible, it might also motivate you to find ways to offer value to your org.
It’s a Relationship, Not a Transaction
Simply submitting your deliverables does not automatically ensure more opportunities.
Your manager is your first point of contact for opening new doors, and unless she sees you as unique from the herd, and has a clear record of your worth to the org, she won’t have much of a case to justify your promotion or raise.
You’re building a relationship with your manager so she can better understand your potential, and you can’t build a trusting, opportunity-rich relationship by just checking off your boxes, hoping she’ll read between the lines and remember the details of why that box was significant.
She doesn’t have time for that. And you can’t afford to bank on a once-per-year (typically one hour) performance review to get on her good side.
That’s why accomplishment tracking is a success habit; you have to do it habitually for it to be effective. Making this a consistent element of your manager relationship helps to establish clear expectations and ensure constant visibility for your successes.
No one else has the time to analyze your individual work and its impact on the business. You know best what you’re bringing to the table, and if you don’t take the steps to connect the dots for your manager, you won’t be recognized for your full value… and you’ll miss out on opportunities.