Summertime is high time to ask for advancement, according to a study from analytics firm Visier. By June, companies have conducted performance reviews and doled out bonuses. This means they have a little breathing room to consider new requests.
Seize the Day, Ask Away
“Traditionally, organizations award promotions as recognition for a good year of performance,” says Ian Cook, head of workforce solutions for Visier. “They usually follow a cycle, such as reviews in January and February, and raises and promotions locking in during the second quarter.”
The worst time to ask for a promotion is fall. “[In late third quarter] companies are taking stock of the year and doing a financial wrap-up,” says Cook. “They’re trying to get the year closed out, and make targets, budgets, and a plan built for next year. They aren’t thinking about promotions because they’re too busy. It’s a natural cycle driven by the financial calendar.”
You NEED to Ask
Not everybody is comfortable asking for a promotion, but you might just have too. If you recently had a performance review it went well but didn’t end in a promotion, maybe it’s time to ask for one. “While it’s easy for companies to manage everybody at once, it’s not the way employees experience the consumer world, where actions happen in an immediate or short cycle,” says Cook. “You should definitely ask.”
The best way to ask is when you get positive feedback, says Cook. “For example, ‘I’m hearing that I’m performing well and contributing the right kind of work. What opportunities do I have to be recognized?’” he says. “That’s much better than threatening to leave. It could be uncomfortable if your employer has no space to give.”
If you’re a high performer, you have a better chance of getting your request granted. “When it comes to good people, organizations aren’t able to promote fast enough,” says Cook. “Management needs to have their eyes and ears wide open for high performers to make sure to keep pace with their abilities and level of patience. High performers are rarely patient.”
It Might Just be Time to Quit
If there is no space for growth, you might need to consider changing companies. This is especially valid if you haven’t been in the workforce very long. “At that level of a career, moving makes sense,” says Cook. “There is more opportunity if you think of the workplace like a pyramid, where the bottom is wider and there is more space to go up.”
Summer is a good time to get a promotion by changing companies because job openings often happen during the vacation season.
“When employees are away on holiday resting, they often think, ‘I’m killing myself at work.’ They decide it’s time to move, and come back and take action,” says Cook. “Also, a lot of employees wait for the bonus cycle, which often comes in February or early spring. Then they wait to get paid and then leave.”
Who knows, the job someone just left might be the gig you’re looking for.