It’s tough at work these days, companies are trying to do more with fewer employees. Employees are struggling to meet increased workloads without ruining their personal lives. Most are probably just making it through the critical, must do, tasks each day.
In this kind of environment, it is sometimes hard to make sure that your outstanding efforts for the company are recognized, let alone rewarded! You are busier, your boss is busier and the customers are stressed.
In saner times, perhaps your boss did an evaluation of your performance, or perhaps your customers wrote nice reviews on your outstanding work for them. These things can help your career progress enormously. How can you make sure your good work is noticed in these tough times?
I worked in an environment that was fast paced all of the time, so even before the 2008 economic disturbance and consequent layoffs, I was in a very busy situation. I was a department head, responsible for setting and realizing goals for the entire department and I reported directly to a company vice president – who had many other responsibilities. Consequently, I knew that he would not necessarily remember all of the valuable contributions made by my department.
How to get your accomplishments noticed.
Here are some suggestions, based on what I used to do as a department head.
Throughout the year
As you initiate and complete projects and activities, make some notes in a document or on your calender so that you don’t forget what you did throughout the year.
At the start of each project or activity, take a few minutes to review the company’s mission, strategy and overall goals for the year. Make sure each project supports those and note how you think it does.
At the end of the year
Request an audience with your boss. Set up a formal meeting, with just the two of you. The purpose of the meeting will be to review the department’s accomplishments for the year and talk about how best your area can meet company objectives in the coming year.
Prepare for the meeting. Before the meeting, ask each of your staff members to summarize their own accomplishments for the year. This will not only help you evaluate their performance but will also bring to light any results you have forgotten or any extra efforts of which you weren’t aware.
Once again, review the company’s mission, strategy and goals – noting any that may have changed through the year. You need to show that your department is moving the company towards it’s mission and that you (and your staff) were critical to that movement.
Focus on one to five important accomplishments – ones that help you demonstrate the above. You won’t have time to go through every little project you did, although you can supply a written document as a leave behind from the meeting (just don’t expect your boss to read it!).
Practice talking about how those five things aided the company’s current or future bottom line. Give your boss material to show his or her boss what he or she accomplished through your department!
Meet with your boss. Spend half of the meeting demonstrating your area’s accomplishments – using the practiced subject matter. Verify that your boss thinks those things were strategically meeting the company’s mission. Then go on to discuss what your area should focus on in the coming year during the rest of the meeting.
Show the boss that you have studied the company mission and that you have observed the ways different areas are supporting the mission. For your area, mention any customer initiatives, internal issues or opportunities that could or should be tackled in the coming year, along with how you think those meet the
Probe your boss for his/her thoughts on upcoming trends, events, requests or actual work that will need to be done and work through how that fits into the mission and strategy.
Leave behind a one page summary of your area’s accomplishments for your boss to use.
Wrap it up by thanking him or her for his/her time, appreciation of his/her understanding of what your department contributes to the company and an invitation to touch base again sometime in the the next few weeks or months to make sure your area is staying on track.
First of the year
Meet with your staff. After you meet with your boss, you need to carry word back to your staff.
Tell them what you shared, how it fit into the company mission and strategy, how pleased (or displeased!) your boss was with the work done by the group and then lead them in a discovery session for the coming year.
Hold a discovery session – review the company mission, strategy and goals with your team(s). Share the upcoming known work and show them how it supports the mission. Brainstorm with them to see if together you can come up with new initiatives from your area which could also support the company mission, or get the upcoming work done in a more efficient manner.
Congratulate them on their successes and thank them as well.
What have you done at work to avoid being invisible? How did you make sure you or your area got the credit for the contributions made?