Career progression is a concept that many of us don’t think about on a daily basis. We know that it’s something we should be working towards, but our day to day tasks often take precedence, and we push it to the back of our minds. Or perhaps you simply don’t want to have an awkward conversation with your manager, asking about progression. 

Moving forward in your career is something that you should put some thought into, especially if you’re working in a role where there is no clear and obvious progression. Ideally, you’ll have thought about the next step in your career before you’ve even started the job! It’s unlikely that your boss will be considering your progression, as they’ll probably be concentrating on their own, so it’s up to you to take ownership. 

So why is career progression so important? For the employee, the benefits are fairly obvious. You’ll be going up the career ladder, which usually means a higher salary, and more perks. Are there any advantages for the employer though? The simple answer is yes - we’ve explored three of the key benefits of career progression for a company below:

1. Less Workplace Stress

Stress will make your employees unhappy and probably less productive. It’s unhealthy for anyone to be stressed for long periods of time, and according to the NHS, can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, and chest pain. You may also develop mental symptoms like having difficulty concentrating, being forgetful and feeling overwhelmed.

Part of feeling stressed is that you don’t see an end in sight. By giving employees something to work towards - career progression - you can help them feel more confident, and hopefully less stressed.

2. Increase in Engagement and Productivity

Having progression opportunities should make employees feel more supported in the workplace. This should lead to a more engaged and productive workforce. People tend to invest in a business if they feel that the company is also investing in them.

Having a goal can also give staff a sense of purpose. They feel like they have room to grow within the organisation, and clear targets to hit. When employees have a sense of purpose, they should furthermore be more loyal to the business. 

3. New Opportunities

As an employer, you may not even realise that you have a gap in your workforce. But by allowing employees to grow and discover new interests within the organisation, you might see that placing someone in a new, specialised role can help the business in the long run. 

Offering progression opportunities also fosters a culture of knowledge sharing. Before they can move forward, many people will need to learn from their supervisors or other departments, picking up skills they didn’t have previously. And this mentorship or shadowing can work both ways - often, it’s not just the newer members of staff who are taking in knowledge. They can offer insights and innovative solutions other employees may not think of.

career progression

Discussing Progression With Your Manager

As mentioned above, having a conversation with your boss about career progression can be difficult. But if you’re fully prepared, it should go pretty smoothly! And if your manager wants you to remain working for the business, they should support you in your development.

To help you get started, we’ve looked at the main three steps of discussing moving forward in your career with your manager below:

Make a Plan

Making a plan is the most important step - you need to consider the reasons why you deserve a promotion, and write them all down. What have you achieved in your time with the business, and in what areas do you excel? Is there anything you can do that others can’t? 

You should also think about your vision for the future - where do you see yourself in a few years time? Will progression now put you in a better position later down the line? Then work out the skills and knowledge you’d need to have in order to get there. Perhaps you’d need formal qualifications, or more experience in a particular area. Next, you can look into the ways in which you can gain these skills, ready to discuss your strategies with your manager. 

Give Specific Examples

Simply saying that you’re a hard worker and deserve a promotion will only get you so far. You’ll also need to prove it. Your boss may have already noticed your strong work ethic and proven track record, but it doesn't hurt to remind them of your achievements.

Review your performance over the last few months or years. Do you have any facts or figures you can use that attest to your skill set? For example, if you helped increase the revenue of the company, to what percentage? These sorts of figures should speak for themselves.

It’s also a good idea to look at your previous feedback, during formal or informal review sessions. If you’ve never had anything but glowing feedback from your colleagues, that should speak to your character and work ethic.

Don’t Give Up

Even if you’re not offered a promotion straight away, that doesn't mean you should give up. Perhaps there are no progression opportunities currently available, or you need to gain knowledge or experience in a particular area before moving forward. Discuss with your manager what the next steps would be, and how soon you can expect to progress.

And if you get sick of waiting for a promotion that doesn’t seem likely, perhaps it’s time to find a new job. Look for positions that are either higher up on the career ladder, or have definite progression opportunities. If you can, try and speak with current employees too, and get an idea of how often people are promoted from within the company.

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