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Asking for promotions is important. Just ask Anamika Yadav, a Salesforce Transformation Consultant based in London. Yadav emphasizes the importance of initiating promotion conversations — a key way to be in control of your professional future.
From learning how to confidently self-promote and being intentional about what you want, to tracking your progress and keeping an open conversation going, Yadav has a wealth of knowledge on how to ask for — and get — a promotion.
To share her promotion advice, Yadav chatted with Winifred Ereyi, the WITI Charlotte Network director and founder of ThinkSTEM foundation — an organization that is encouraging and empowering young women from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue careers in tech.
Read the abbreviated and slightly edited recap of their conversation here to learn Yadav’s best tips for: asking for a promotion, sharing your goals, asking for feedback, demonstrating your added value, practicing your pitch, and more.
A lesson that I learnt quite early on within my Salesforce journey is that there's extensive research on women not asking for promotions as much as men. According to some of these findings, women value communal goals more than individual goals. And, when I first heard this, I was really shocked. This way of functioning can be quite detrimental to our careers, as we become more likely to fall behind our self-promoting peers.
One of our former Salesforce executives, who had been in a similar situation quite early on in her career, said that she had conversations with her manager about promotions once a year. During which, her manager would say: “You're doing great, but let's review this in six months to a year's time and see where we are with this.”
What she gradually started to notice was her male colleagues, on the other hand, would make sure that they got into the habit of asking every month: “So where am I with my promotion journey? Have we gotten any closer? Where are we with this?” Unfortunately, what happens is if we don't ask and we don't put ourselves forward, we fall behind our peers who do self-promote. If we don't knock on that door every month and ask about our progress, then we're not front-of-mind.
So, when your manager is thinking of who to promote, they'll think about the person who's been consistently knocking at their door, asking for progress updates, asking for where they are in that journey. So it is really important that we, as women, make sure that we advocate for ourselves. We have to be vocal to make sure we're holding our managers accountable when it comes to our growth and advancement.
To be completely honest, I wasn't; it's something that I struggled a lot with, particularly being someone early in my career. But, I actually started working on something called the “I am Remarkable” workshop, which is an initiative run by Google. It focused on exactly this topic, and it really changed my entire perception of how I think of self promotion.
I think the famous phrase from that program is: it's not bragging if it's based on facts. And that's one thing that I believe passionately — if you have the facts and metrics to back up how hard you’re working, why shouldn't you get a promotion? I do think there's a bit of an art to it, and you're not going to get it right all the time. It is just about figuring out what's an authentic way for you to voice that.
There are three or four things that we can do to make sure that we are holding people who are in charge of our promotion processes accountable. The first thing that I would recommend is actually making sure you're tracking your own progress. Now, some people call this an accomplishment journal or a work journal. As you're going through your career, and see positive feedback from a colleague or a customer or client or something that you've worked on, make sure you're keeping track of that. It is super important because then, when it comes to promotions, you're actually able to show the outputs of what you've accomplished. I would also recommend making your intentions and aspirations known, so managers are all aware of what your future goals are.
[For example,] a year ago, I'd said to my manager: “I know I've just been promoted, but I want to let you know, in a year's time, I'd really like to get promoted again. What can we do together to build that case?” And we had a very open discussion about criteria that were needed, what he was looking for, and the work that I needed to do to make sure I was at the level where he and I were both confident in moving me forward for a promotion.
Another thing I say is to make sure you're both holding each other accountable. So, if they say, “In six months time I'd like you to demonstrate X, Y, and Z”, make sure you have that documented somewhere, have that down on a piece of paper. And, in six months' time, you can say, “Hi, remember when we had that conversation six months ago around you saying, if I did X, Y, and Z, we can talk about the next step. Well, guess what, I've accomplished X, Y, and Z and AB and C and all the other letters in the alphabet, so let's have this conversation again."
Keep track of those timelines and dates. Additionally, be prepared to have that conversation with their superiors as well. [Also, in check-ins with your manager,] try dedicating every third and fourth meeting to having a real conversation around your promotion process and how you’re tracking on that.
This is an interesting part of my career where, over the last three years, I've had this goal and now, I’ve reached it. As a result, I’m in a bit of an exploratory period of my career within Salesforce. I know I love the area of the business that I work in; I love working with my customers, and I genuinely mean that. I'm very lucky to work with some amazing trailblazers, but what else can I do past this point? So, I am actually being quite proactive in talking to different people within the organization at the moment about what's next and learning from their career journeys.
I'm someone who loves to hear about other people's career journeys, so I schedule virtual coffees if I'm on a call with someone who's had a really interesting career path, just so I can learn as much as possible about what they've done. I think so many people in the organization have such amazing stories to tell about the journeys they've been on.
I think the first thing is [you determine] what's the next level. [For example,] as senior, the next [level] is probably going to be principal. [Then, figure out] what does that criteria currently look like [for that next role]? When you're looking at that criteria, and you start to feel like you're filling in those blanks — that’s when it's time for you to ask for that promotion.
You can watch the full video of this conversation below. And, if you’re interested in joining the Salesforce team, where, as Ereyi notes, “there's this culture of openness where you can have conversations that matter” — they’re hiring! Browse current openings via the following link.
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