Ah, the dog days of summer. That sleepy, warm, slightly-wistful time where everyone tries to squeeze in some late-season long weekends, the office dress code generally loosens up a bit, and many employees enjoy their last few days of a slower work pace before the busy autumn season kicks in.
I hate to ruin this lovely picture, but if you’re interested in a promotion, this is no time to be lackadaisical. According to Fast Company, late summer is actually one of the best times to propose a promotion for three key reasons.
1. Many companies review performances and grant promotions on a calendar cycle – and late summer is that calendar's sweet spot
A study by analytics firm Visier collected data from 3.5 million employees nationwide and found summer is the best time to ask for a promotion, mainly due to the calendar many companies follow for official processes like reviews and staff changes.
Ian Cook, the head of workforce solutions at Visier, explains that promotions typically come after performance reviews, a time where managers engage in a dialogue with staffers about their performance and make promotional decisions accordingly.
“Traditionally, organizations award promotions as recognition for a good year of performance. They usually follow a cycle, such as reviews in January and February, and raises and promotions locking in during the second quarter,” Cook told Fast Company.
While the “second quarter” for most companies ended in June, the early part of the third quarter also proves a favorable time to talk to your boss about a promotion. However, Cook does caution against waiting too long to go for it, as the late fall is historically the worst time to put yourself forward for a status bump at work.
“[In late third quarter] companies are taking stock of the year and doing a financial wrap-up. 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,” Cook explained.
2. If you work in an industry that slows down in the late summer, you can use that to your advantage.
In many career fields, work life slows down a bit, in August with lots of people out of office and a general lagging feeling before the fall rush begins. But if you’re looking for an opportunity to snag some solid face to face time with your boss to discuss a promotion, this slow season can work to your benefit.
Quieter business periods give you better odds of scheduling a meeting to talk about your progress. And if your boss is less swamped than usual, she’ll be in a better mood – and better able to devote more attention to the promotion proposal. Both good things for you.
3. If you choose to leave your company to pursue a higher-level role elsewhere, the numbers work in your favor during the late summer
If you decide that your best shot at the promotion you want involves a move to a new company, the lead-up to Labor Day is a prime time to scope out the possibilities. Cook claims that many positions open up in late summer as a direct result of summer vacations.
““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."
Now’s the time to make your move and sit your boss down for that promotion meeting (or to jump ship, if the right opportunity arises). Make it happen!