Restless to move ahead? It might be time to get strategic about snagging that next promotion.
Visier, a people analytics company, analyzed an aggregated database of 3.5 million employees from over 70 companies that use its service to better understand its workforce. The analysis uncovered some surprising trends that could make promotions less of a mystery.
In fact, there might even be more than one promotional "sweet spot," says Dave Weisbeck, Visier's chief strategy officer. These sweet spots, as identified by the company's analysis, could match your age, career or your company's hiring timeline.
If you're hoping for a raise or new position this year, here are some tips to consider.
Weisbeck says managers may face "recency bias" when considering who to promote. Recency bias is a tendency for people to take notice of an event and then believe that event happens often.
Weisbeck says people who perform well right before they are considered for a promotion may be more likely to move up than people who performed well months before their consideration. While all employees should try to have great results frequently, consider when promotions are typically announced at your company and make sure to impress your boss in the months prior.
Unsurprisingly, the Visier data found that high performers received four times the promotions of low performers.
Employees at the companies Visier analyzed got more promotions in the summer months than during the winter, according to the report.
The rate of who received promotions was about 1 percent higher during the summer than during the winter. The rate of resignations is also higher during the summer, Weisbeck says.
This trend might be tied, in part, to fiscal calendars. In the fall and winter, employers may be more focused on increasing business opportunities as the end of the year approaches, according to Visier.
"Because all budgeting is annual, and most budgeting cycles start with the new year, compensation changes are more likely to occur early in the year," Weisbeck says. "Spreading out the good news associated with promotions means targeting mid-year — so summer."
The most likely time to receive a promotion is in your third year at a company. Promotions drop off significantly after 10 years at the company, Visier found.
Age also played a role in how likely a promotion is — people between 25 and 30 years old got more promotions than any other age group.
"(Promotions) happen in these windows within a role or a company," Weisbeck says. "If you want to maximize your earnings potential, you've got to take advantage of that time frame."
Millennials, just starting their careers, change jobs more frequently than older generations. This could hurt their promotion prospects.
In another report, Visier found that millennials resign nearly two times as often as non-millennials. However, millennials who are managers resign two-thirds less often than millennials who are not managers.
Leaving a job early could keep you from getting a promotion and claiming a spot as a manager.
While too much job hopping can hurt you, waiting around can also be a problem. Your potential for promotions decreases significantly after 10 years at a company, Weisbeck says.
"There's an optimized timeline," he says. "If you're in a role and you're there for less than 12 months and you think 'I haven't been promoted, so I'm going to move on to greener pastures,' you're probably doing yourself a disservice. But if you've been there for four years without any sort of adjustment, then you're probably doing yourself a disservice by staying there."
If you're looking to be promoted, make sure your manager knows you're ready for more responsibility. Discuss big picture goals, ways you can improve and what more you can learn in the weeks before your annual review. If you wait until your actual review, decisions on raises and responsibilities might already have be set in stone.
Communication is crucial in developing a realistic professional timeline, Weisbeck says. Employees should know about gaps in their performance and work with supervisors to fill them.
Similarly, don't expect your manager knows you're looking for more responsibility. As an employee, if you're not getting the feedback you need to improve, Weisbeck says you should ask for it.
"Performance shouldn't be a surprise," he says. "Promotions shouldn't be a surprise when they occur. They really should be part of an ongoing conversation."
Millennials may be expecting a promotion too early in a new job, says Weisbeck.
"Very frequently, millennials are looking ... for promotions in a 12- to 18-month time frame," Weisbeck says. "There's probably a balancing [act] to be achieved. Twelve (months) is probably too optimistic, but 18 to 24 might be a better time frame to be thinking about."
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