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Why summer is the best time of year to ask for a promotion

And why fall is the worst time.

Why summer is the best time of year to ask for a promotion
[Photo: Bethany Legg/Unsplash]

If you’re looking for a promotion, now’s the time to act. After reviewing data from 3.5 million employees at about 80 companies, workforce analytics provider Visier Analytics found that summer is the best time to get promoted.

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“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.”


Related: Six steps to get promoted this year


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’ll probably have to ask

If you had a performance review and didn’t get a promotion, circle back and ask for one, says Cook. “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.”

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Related: Should you ever accept a promotion without a raise?


And you might have to quit

Also consider changing companies, especially 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.”

The job they vacate may be the promotion you’ve been looking for.

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