I often hear awesome women say, “My annual review is in a week, and I’d like to ask for a promotion/raise/etc. What’s the best way to do that?”. Unfortunately, that close to the negotiation, there’s a good chance the bus has already left the station.
Without having objective metrics, people tend to rely on unconscious bias to make decisions. Unfortunately, unconscious bias in the workplace often rewards men, not women – you may have heard about the famous study where men are promoted based on potential, and women on demonstrated performance.
On top of that, in some companies, 2023 budgets are due in October, before annual reviews; meaning that if you want something substantive, like a promotion or a market adjustment to your salary, your boss’s hands might actually be tied for many months after the annual review.
If you want to ask for a promotion, raise, etc. during your annual review, here are some steps to take now:
- Schedule a mid-point review “to discuss progress to date and make sure we’re on track”.
- During the meeting, use the communal ask formula to review your accomplishments and then share your goal: “I think I can create even more impact at the Director level. What would I need to demonstrate to show I’m ready for that opportunity?”
The goal here is to walk away with a very clear list of things you need to do. You may ask a few rounds of clarifying questions to get there: “what would that look like?” “Do you think improving X account by 15% would demonstrate that?” “Is there anyone else I need to convince?”. After this meeting, send your boss a note confirming what you heard in the discussion:
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. As you know, we were able to accomplish x, y, and z last year, and I think we are on track to deliver _______. As we discussed, I enjoy my job and am looking for ways to increase my impact and make it to the Director level. Based on our conversation, I understand I will need to demonstrate a, b and c to be considered for promotion.
Looking forward to continuing to work together,
- Once you have the list, it becomes your rubric, your game plan, your marching orders. Just check those off, one-by-one. Each time you do, drop your boss a note letting her know it’s complete and what the larger impact is: “Guess what?! We delivered a 10% increase in sales over last year! This puts the team in a great position to exceed our quarterly targets.” Check. This not only reinforces your performance, but also creates an easily searchable paper trail when you manager is preparing for your review.
The goal is to plant the seed early (of course you are ready for a promotion!), remove bias by bringing additional objectivity into the process (here are the 3 things you need to do) and then making the annual review a formality, since the answer is obvious 😊