How to fast-track your progression

A considerable amount of research has been done to explore the speed at which the Gen Z workforce anticipates advancing in their careers.

Numerous publications seek to underscore what can be perceived as 'unrealistic' expectations about the world of work. Business Insider, for example, reported that ‘54% of Gen Zers who were just entering the workforce said they expected to secure their first promotion within one year on the job’.

They believe the reason for this is that this generation not only faces long-term financial challenges but also ‘has unprecedented access to information about the working world’. Before the advent of the internet, new workers took much longer to learn about the ins and outs of their respective fields, with learning on the job being their only option. Now, influencers on social media platforms, with hundreds of thousands of followers, share tips on how to nail interviews, negotiate pay, and navigate performance reviews. Arguably, by watching those on the internet advancing through their careers quickly, people have gained the confidence to pursue that themselves.

However, wanting to progress faster than previous generations isn’t something that only Gen Z’s feel. McKinsey's comprehensive analysis, comparing worker attitudes and behaviours across distinct age cohorts, sheds light on this universal aspiration. Spanning five age groups – from Gen Z, younger and older millennials, Gen X, to younger baby boomers – their study unearthed a remarkable similarity in employee preferences, particularly regarding intentions to seek alternative employment opportunities. While attrition rates exhibit variance across age demographics, the underlying motivations for contemplating job transitions remain consistent. Across the board, inadequate compensation, limited avenues for career growth and an uncaring leadership team emerge as primary catalysts for employee churn.

These findings underscore the persistent challenges faced by organisations in addressing the core concerns of their workforce: equitable compensation, opportunities for professional development and supportive leadership.

It’s vital for both employees and employers to recognise that progression isn't solely defined by promotions or monetary rewards. It encompasses the broader journey of individual growth and empowerment. Embracing this perspective means valuing initiatives that foster personal brand development, encourage continuous skill enhancement and facilitate inclusion in meaningful discussions and collaborations. True progression is about fostering an environment where every member of the workforce can thrive, expand their horizons and contribute to the collective success of the organisation.

If you're aiming to accelerate your career progression, here are 5 effective strategies to consider:

Manage upwards

Take proactive steps to establish clear communication channels with your superiors. Ensure they articulate expectations clearly and provide the necessary support for your growth. Likewise, express your needs and aspirations openly, fostering a collaborative relationship that facilitates mutual understanding and advancement.

Become an ambassador

Embrace the role of an enthusiastic advocate for your organisation. Whether in face-to-face interactions or online platforms, project a positive image of the company's values, culture and achievements. By embodying the organisation's ethos, you not only enhance its reputation but also position yourself as a valuable asset deserving of recognition and advancement.

Volunteer for initiatives

Demonstrate your eagerness to expand your horizons by volunteering for diverse projects and initiatives within the organisation. This not only broadens your skill set and knowledge base but also showcases your versatility and willingness to contribute beyond your immediate responsibilities.

Alignment with organisational values

Keep the core values of the organisation at the forefront of your actions and decisions. Strive to align your efforts with these principles, demonstrating your commitment to the organisation's mission and objectives. That way, you will not only contribute to a positive workplace culture but also enhance your standing as a valued team member.

Tenacity and ownership

Approach your work with a tenacious spirit, seeing projects through from inception to completion with diligence and dedication. Take ownership of your tasks and initiatives, ensuring thorough documentation and offering to share your expertise with colleagues. By fostering a culture of knowledge-sharing and collaboration, you contribute to collective progress while showcasing your leadership potential.

If your primary goal is to boost your income, it's essential to proactively identify the steps required to advance to the next pay level within your organisation. Begin by engaging in candid discussions with your supervisors or HR personnel to gain clarity on the specific criteria for progressing to the next pay bracket. This may involve meeting certain performance targets, acquiring additional skills or certifications or taking on increased responsibilities.

It’s also worth inquiring about the possibility of alternative forms of compensation, beyond a traditional salary increase. Explore whether there's a structured bonus system in place tied to individual or team performance. Additionally, investigate the potential for commission-based incentives, especially if your role involves sales or client acquisition.

Furthermore, consider negotiating for supplementary benefits that could enhance your overall compensation package. This could include perks such as increased flexibility in your work schedule, fewer working hours or the provision of comprehensive healthcare coverage or insurance plans. By broadening your perspective beyond just salary increments, you may uncover opportunities to optimise your overall compensation in ways that align with your personal and professional priorities.

As you continue your career progression journey, remember that it's not just about climbing the corporate ladder or padding your paycheck – it's about embracing a unified approach to personal and professional growth. By embracing this multifaceted approach to progression, you'll not only propel your own career forward but also contribute to the collective success and growth of your organisation. The possibilities are endless and the path to success is yours to carve.