When I was seven years old, I decided that I wanted to raise chickens. For some, this might be a little odd. Even in my small Oklahoma town, a young girl managing chickens isn’t an everyday sight. But I was committed. Thankfully, my beloved grandad was all in and even encouraged me to consider starting a business selling eggs.
My time as a chicken manager was chaotic but lucrative (more on that later). Those days offered something else: opportunities to fail, learn, and experience deep joy from a job well done. The business world isn’t a chicken coop, but it’s had its fair share of chaos the last couple of years. As an employee, you have the desire to feel valued. Maybe you’re considering a career jump. Perhaps an opportunity that speaks to who you are, holistically, and what you can offer. And in return, you’re wanting more.
Within the unexpected is an opportunity to step up and stand out right where you are. As the vice president of human resources at a high-growth S&P 500 company, I’ve had the privilege of seeing team members soar to new heights in their careers. At Paycom, we move quickly. In my role, I expect and notice excellence. Promoting from within is competitive advantage for successful businesses. It fosters institutional knowledge and loyalty. Unfortunately, the flip side of the equation can be costly. A workplace study from Gallup reveals the cost of replacing an employee is as much as 200% of the original worker’s salary.
For those looking to position themselves for a promotion, below are some beneficial traits to consider.
Adaptability’s value is only going up. Flexibility and the ability to manage change are imperative now more than ever. Adaptability fatigue is behind us. Let’s settle in to our new normal and take a breath. As a little girl, my grandad inspired me to create my own egg company. I was seven years old, and in my mind, anything was possible. I began selling eggs around the neighborhood and quickly found out that there were a lot of neighbors and a lot of eggs, but only one me. Instead of quitting, I did what any tenacious girl would do: I found a few more baskets and asked my friends to help. When managers look to promote, they’re not looking for employees who restate the problems. Believe me, we know the problems. Leaders offer solutions. Leaders find the baskets and make it happen.
In my career and life, I’ve observed the importance of pitching in before someone asks you. I’ve carried that with me and promoted team members who have the tenacity to show they want more responsibility and can handle it once given. Taking advantage of professional development opportunities demonstrates the drive to learn and perfect your skills. Extra points if your company provides professional development, leadership trainings and growth opportunities, through HR technology accessible 24/7. This is direct access to training and upskilling so you’re able to succeed where you are and develop skills for tomorrow. You should be in control of your data and track your goals through tech software.
When I’m looking to promote someone, employees thinking steps ahead and prioritizing their own development sets my mind at ease and shows me they are strategic thinkers.
Cultivate relationships with leaders
Another important way to add value is by cultivating relationships with decision-makers within the organization. Employees need to make themselves visible to their leaders to show their value. Good managers encourage regularly touching base. It’s a great way to start meaningful conversations that build stronger relationships and showcase employee work. When my team and I are more efficient thanks to HR tech, we focus on relationships. Simply put, there is no replacement for the human part of human resources. Work smarter and rely on resources that streamline your daily tasks to allow you more time and opportunity to connect with leaders organically. As you’re working to develop deeper relationships, look for people who inspire and challenge you and then work to stay connected with them. When it comes down to it, people will advocate for people they know and trust.
Throughout my career, I’ve been well served by my work ethic. Industries change and the unprecedented becomes the norm, but an ability to assess the business landscape and actively deliver value will always be necessary. My colleagues are looking for future leaders who are up for today’s challenges and willing to go the extra mile to show they are leadership material. In a recent Deloitte report, 80% of the executives surveyed admitted that strengthening organizational leadership is a high priority. Those hoping to grow their role should find ways to make their team members’ lives easier and deliver more than is expected.
Ask for feedback and think ahead
It’s so easy, especially early in your career, to put your head down and only think about the task in front of you. But strategic thinkers monitor their progress in the short and long term. They notice gaps in their skill sets and work to fill them. They seek out learning opportunities, using digital tools like learning management systems and performance management software, to increase their career capabilities on their own schedules. They ask for feedback on improving and take that feedback with humility. Companies that offer services like surveys and reviews set employees up to succeed by giving them a clear understanding of their path forward. Team members who embrace that feedback with a growth mindset stand out from the rest.
The values I have learned since childhood have positioned me for where I am today. They taught me how to read a situation and look for opportunities in unlikely places. Today’s work environment provides ample growth opportunity for employees. The ones who remain adaptable, foster relationships, think ahead and take initiative will thrive.
Jennifer Kraszewski is the VP of Human Resources at Paycom.