How To Get a Promotion While Working Remotely
More than ever, businesses are operating remotely. For employees gunning for a promotion in the new landscape, the rules and conventions are murky at best.
A manager might feel less accessible over Zoom, or the distance may make it harder to demonstrate success. It may also feel difficult to gauge the state of the company when you’re out of the office.
But these are surmountable hurdles, according to Lindsey Rogers, leadership coach and founder of Alchemi. Remote work may be indefinite in some companies, so it’s important to embrace the digital reality and go for it.
“It’s absolutely possible to be promoted remotely,” said Rogers. “Don’t wait.”
5 Tips for Getting Promoted When You’re Working Remotely
Here are some of Rogers’s tips for landing a promotion while working from home.
1. Avoid Making Assumptions
Many people don’t go for promotions because they’ve made unfounded assumptions, according to Rogers. The pandemic may seem like a terrible time to ask for a promotion, for example. But while it is true that many companies are struggling, others are actually thriving.
“I watch clients self-limit themselves all the time. They assume they know the situation the company is in,” said Rogers. “Especially with women, it’s that internal glass ceiling.”
Rogers said that if employees are afraid to put themselves out there they should ask themselves why and avoid any conjecture.
Until you’ve had conversations with higher-ups or consulted company job postings, you won’t know whether or not a promotion is feasible.
2. It’s a Process, Not Just One Conversation
Employees often envision asking for a promotion as one nerve-wracking, momentous conversation. That’s a myth, Rogers said.
Even if you’re remote, you should insist on a regular weekly check-in with your manager on a video chat platform. This is a great way to discuss your successes of the week, stay on top of company information, and lay out your inquiries.
“You don’t have to do everything in one conversation. Get into a rhythm,” said Rogers. “Being proactive with your communication shows excellent leadership.”
Bring up your career goals one week, for example, and ask your boss if they believe a promotion is the next step. Ask what skills are needed to achieve the promotion, and demonstrate that you have utilized these skills at the next meeting. Ultimately, if your manager is on your team, they will help you get a promotion approved.
3. Proactively Build and Maintain Relationships Online
In a remote culture, it’s difficult to connect with people if they’re not directly working with you. Rogers recommended that employees proactively reach out to various colleagues and maintain those relationships, even if it’s over email.
Share work that you’re proud of and credit those involved, for example. Send colleagues praise when they hit a benchmark. Send a friendly, gracious response to emails sent to you, if appropriate. Try to work directly with as many people as possible in and out of your team, if possible.
When it comes time to ask for a promotion, you’ll have built an army of allies.
“It’s just as important as ever to have examples of your work and testimonials from others,” said Rogers.
4. Recognize the Remote Advantages
Some aspects of remote operations could work in your favor when it comes to seeking a promotion. Use them to your advantage, Rogers said.
Remote work gives you the opportunity to show your success in ways that have nothing to do with your office presence, for example. This is a particular boon for people who have children or busy home lives.
“You’ll be judged on your results more than whether or not someone sees you at your desk until 7 o’clock at night,” said Rogers.
Also, many people aren’t great at communicating over Zoom, Slack or email. This makes it easy to stand out if you put in the effort to communicate well and dress professionally, Rogers said.
5. Move Up Through a Different Company
If you’re not getting the answers you want at your current position, consider switching companies and moving up via a different ladder. It may seem like a risky, impossible idea during the pandemic, but never assume.
“If you’re seeing a lot of roadblocks, it’s time to wonder if it’s easier to get a higher level position elsewhere,” said Rogers. “That’s really scary, but people are hiring good people. If we assume that it’s not possible, it will be. If we ask how might it be possible, it’s more likely we can find the potential ways we’re going to move forward.”