Across the country, there’s an interesting dynamic playing out. First, there’s a relative shortage of workers in various industries fueled by the pandemic and the cultural shifts that emerged around it. Second, there’s also an increase in professionals seeking alternative employment different from what they have currently.
Personally, I’ve been there. After many years in the corporate world, I shifted my focus to self-employment with a mission to bridge the gap between the C-Suite and the diverse workforce. So, I fully understand that there comes a time and place when you need to branch out and do your own thing.
However, there are also other times where frustration fuels our choices. Bridging that gap means that you often simply need to communicate expectations to your boss or management team. So, before you join this group in what some journalists are dubbing “The Great Resignation,” I thought it would be a good idea to talk about career goals, how to communicate them, and why this is so important.
Your career goals
Before you can communicate expectations to your employer, you need to know what those even are in the first place. It’s one thing to feel like your salary needs to be bumped up. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that inflation levels hit 7% in 2021 — a nearly 40-year record. It’s also expected to slow down in the coming months as supply chains stabilize.
If you proceed merely from that perspective that you don’t make enough, you could miss out on a potential opportunity with your current employer. As they’re also busy with their duties, they may not realize the volume of work you produce for them.
So first, you need to develop a few short-term and a few long-term goals. Taking a look at each:
Short-term career goals are what you want to see happen this year. Maybe you’d like to grow your responsibilities? Or, are you interested in learning a new skill? Short-term goals tell your employer that you’re looking at your employment as a partnership.
Long-term career goals are what you want to see happen in the next five to ten years. This typically includes things like promotions or expanded job titles reflective of your experience.
Why do those goals matter to you?
Whatever your goals may be, the next step is to figure out why they matter to you? Again, it should be fueled through the lens of a long-term approach, not short-term situations. Simon Sinek does an amazing job unpacking this idea of “Finding Your Why”, and to summarize it, it shouldn’t be money-driven. Yes, we all need to make a living, but ultimately your why defines the reason behind your goals and how they will help you grow.
The importance of clear communication
Now that you know what your goals are and why they matter, it’s time to start letting your employer know about them. This can include meetings with your boss, emails, and collaborative conversations with the executive team.
The fact is, you’re a leader for a reason. You’ve invested in building relationships and now it’s time to selectively leverage the clout you’ve established.
Which of these two statements sounds more reasonable to you?
“I need a raise.”
“I would like to have a conversation about my salary in light of recent additional duties I’ve assumed from departing employees.”
The first is unclear. The second lays out exactly why you’re asking for the salary bump and opens the door for additional dialogue.
Reasons to clearly communicate expectations
Throughout this blog today, I’ve hinted at a few reasons why it’s important to clearly communicate expectations. To summarize them, they include:
Your direct supervisor may not be aware of your additional contributions.
As a valued member of the team, they may not know your short-term or long-term aspirations.
Your why can help you better articulate to the executive team the reason you’re looking for a salary bump.
In addition, it often costs more to train a new employee than to retain an existing one. The reality is, there are frequently many opportunities to grow and flourish with your existing employer. When you clearly communicate expectations, it also opens the door to learning about those chances to grow with them.
That is not to say that you should not quit. If you had communicated repeatedly your needs, goals, and expectations on pay and treatment and you are not getting anywhere, by all means, stop tolerating it and quit. I do want to invite you to reflect before you do, were you clear on what is important to you and more importantly, was that communicated to your current employer?
Working with a coach can help establish goals and improve your communication effectiveness
If you haven’t established either short-term or long-term goals, that’s your first step. You need to have a big picture for both this year and the next several before you can communicate with an employer. Often, if we feel frustrated, we make decisions without clarity of vision. Knowing your goals today can help you make the right call tomorrow.
Of course, that’s also where working with a coach can help. Not only can they help you develop your career plan, but they can also help you figure out the most effective methods of communicating those to your employer.
If you’d like help establishing your vision for your career, or advice on how to fill your employer in on your expectations, I’d love to chat with you. Contact me HERE to schedule a time to chat. I can’t wait to meet you and to get to know you!