Salary and Promotions

Ideas Your Boss Will Love and How to Pitch Them

Ideapitch_April2011_web One of the most important lessons a new professional can learn is the benefit of being proactive at work. Employers take notice when an employee is innovative and shares insightful ideas that can boost productivity or streamline processes. If you want to help your team find solutions to problems but don’t know where to start, ask yourself two questions first.

How Can We Make More Money?
Most suggestions that involve your company making more money are going to be well received by your employer. That being said, you needn’t suggest every “get rich quick” scheme you know during office meetings. Share ideas that can truly impact your company in the long run. Ask questions that help you evaluate the company and its competitors.  What can your company provide that other businesses in your market can’t? What special qualities and services make your team stand out? By answering these questions first, you’ll open the floodgates for ideas that will impact the company’s bottom line.

How Can We Save Time?
For many people, time is more valuable, than money. Learning how to save your company time will impress your boss and benefit your career. When it comes to performing daily duties, keep the motto “work smarter, not harder” in mind. This motto does not promote slacking off but rather, efficiency. Realize that time is money, and therefore it’s precious in your employer’s eyes.  Strategize and suggest changes that can save your company time and streamline processes. Remember, even shaving a few minutes off tasks can increase productivity immensely in the long run.

Deliver With Confidence.
Remember, you are in your current position for a reason. Your employer knows your worth, capabilities, and potential. Therefore, deliver your ideas with confidence and give the facts and research to back it up. Not every idea you suggest will be approved, or even liked, but by showing initiative your employer and coworkers will respect your dedication. And remember, if your idea isn’t implemented don’t look at it as a failure, but as an opportunity to grow as an employee.

Coming up with ideas your boss will love is not always easy, but it can be mastered. By concentrating on what’s important to your company and delivering your ideas with confidence and knowledge, you will be well on your way to impressing your boss and proving you are an employee they can’t live without!

What’s Most Important to You in a Career?

Personal incomes were up 0.2% in July, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, which could in part stem from businesses reinstating salary increases and other benefits that were cut or frozen in 2009. As the economy improves and businesses look for more ways to increase employee engagement and retain their key workforce, we want to know what you value most in your job.

Tough Conversations with Your Boss: Surviving the Uncomfortable

You agonize over it. You try to prepare for it. You put it off. And then you worry some more. Having conversations with your boss about sensitive subjects like admitting a mistake or requesting a raise is sometimes uncomfortable. And, gearing up for a difficult conversation can be a little bit like preparing for battle. It’s hard to know what you’ll face.

See Dwight Schrute’s action packed effort to get ready to ask for a raise on The Office.

But, tough conversations are an inevitable part of the workplace. At one time or another, you will probably be faced with an awkward conversation with a supervisor or co-worker. By choosing to address your concerns – instead of ignoring them – with your manager, you could open the door for big progress in your career, like improvements in your relationship with your boss, broken processes, your attitude, and even your paycheck. Plus, how you handle a difficult conversation with your boss now can be a great learning experience for future conversations you could have as a leader or supervisor in the future.

To help you effectively handle a tough conversation with your boss, Express is excited to share a free podcast training series on difficult workplace conversations. So, before your next uncomfortable conversation with your supervisor, gear up with these tips and advice to make discussions a little bit easier.

Clarifying Priorities
When your workload is overwhelming and your task list seems endless, things can quickly get out of hand. Having a clear understanding of your work priorities and deadlines is important. When you need direction on your responsibilities, have a conversation with your boss to keep things from falling through the cracks. Knowing exactly what’s expected of you will allow you to do your job as efficiently as possible. When you meet with your manager, be specific and honest about your concerns. Together, come up with a solution that works for you both. Check out this podcast for tips and advice on having a tough conversation about priorities with your boss.

Admitting a Mistake
Admitting that you’ve made a mistake can be one of the most difficult conversations to have. It’s always hard to swallow your pride and tell someone you messed up. But, instigating a conversation about a mistake you made is far better than being confronted about it later. If you’ve made an error that could affect your company or co-workers, don’t try to hide it. Be proactive and take responsibility. Be honest with your supervisor no matter how difficult it may feel and admit your mistake. The longer you put it off the bigger the issue could become. Together you can come up with a solution to help prevent a future mistake from occurring. Listen to this podcast for the right way to admit a mistake at work.

Requesting a Raise
Asking for a pay raise can be uncomfortable no matter the economic environment. But, if you feel your diligent work merits a pay raise, don’t be afraid to talk to your supervisor about it. Most employers want to retain top talent and understand that having competitive wages is necessary to keep their employees. Before you talk with your boss, be sure you’re prepared to explain the reasons why you feel you deserve a raise and be able to give evidence to support it. If you want a pay raise, listen to this podcast before you meet with your boss.

Difficult conversations don’t have to feel like a battle. You can make your tough conversations with your boss easier by following the advice of the Tough Conversations podcast series. For more information on having difficult discussions with your supervisor or leader, visit jobs.expresspros.com.

Please note, the video clips herein and their sponsors do not necessarily represent the views of Express and are used for educational purposes only.

Top Blog Posts and Polls of 2009

This has been a year full of twists and turns, ups and downs, and a lot of learning. This year we’ve provided you with a lot of information about how and where to look for a job, building a standout résumé, interview skills and follow-up advice, etc. So, if you missed anything, check out our most read Movin’ on Up blog posts and polls of 2009.

Top 5 Blog Posts of 2009

  1. 30 Power Words to Power Up Your Résumé & Boost Your Job Search – Help employers take notice of your résumé by using these 30 words to help showcase your skills and abilities.
  2. Where to Find Hot Summer Jobs – Think summer jobs only consist of retail or fast food? Check out these summer employment opportunities to help make some extra cash.
  3. Negotiating Salary in a Recession – Although many companies enforced salary freezes in 2009, there is still a chance to negotiate your way to a higher salary. How? Get the scoop here.
  4. 6 Things to Bring to an Interview – Before you go to your next job interview, make sure you take these six basic things with you to help you land the job.
  5. 5 Ways to Say Happy Birthday at Work (Without Breaking Your Budget) – Sometimes birthdays can get expensive when you have several co-workers. Learn five tips on how you can still celebrate the occasion, while saving money in the process.

Top 5 Blog Polls of 2009

  1. This Holiday, Do You Need a Second Job? – To get a pulse on the economy and to follow up from our summer job poll, 53% of respondents said they are on the hunt for a second job. See all the results.
  2. What's the Most Important Soft Skill Today? – Employers do look at your soft skills when considering you for a job. According to those surveyed, what are the most important soft skills?
  3. This Summer, Are You Looking for a Second Job? – What was the outlook on taking a second job during the 2009 summer? Take a look at these results and then compare to the follow-up holiday poll at the top of this list.
  4. This Year, Is Higher Education Worth the Cost? – During this recession, with unemployment numbers at an all-time high, many are choosing to return to school. Is it worth it?
  5. Generations and the Job Search: Who’s Having a Harder Time? – When it comes to finding a job, are new grads or mature workers having a more difficult time finding work?

Here’s to a bright 2010. Happy New Year!

Readers Split on Pay Increases as the Economy Improves

As the economy continues to improve, experts are saying that the recession is coming to a close. This great news comes at a wonderful time – as companies and individuals are setting goals and making plans for 2010. So, we wanted to know how people were feeling about their pocket book outlook. In our latest reader poll, we asked “Do you think you’ll be making more money a year from now.”

Our readers were split nearly down the middle, but the positive outlook won out in the end!

To be exact, just over 291 people – 50% of our 578 respondents – replied yes. The rest, 287, were a no. The poll ran from October 5-October 30.

As the signs of a positive recovery continue to increase, what else are you thinking about for this upcoming year? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Job Loss & Income Level Top Recession Career Impacts, Readers Say

According to our latest poll, job loss is the leading impact the recession has had on the careers of our readers, with 31% selecting this factor, followed by 22% selecting lower income level. In addition, 12% of readers said that fewer job prospects have been a factor in their career during this recession. 

Interestingly, 11% of our readers responded that their career had not been affected by the recession, the next most popular selection in the poll.

The non-scientific poll, which ran during the month of August, received 506 responses and asked “How has the recession impacted your career?” Respondents were asked to select one of 10 factors for which has had the biggest affect on their whole career story.

Other career impact factors ranked as follows: fewer advancement opportunities (6%), working more hours (5%), career change (3%), less work/life balance, (2%), more career opportunities (1%), and postponed education (1%).

Have you been impacted by job loss, lowered income, or fewer job opportunities? Share your stories and comments with us by clicking on the “comments” link below.

For  more information about overcoming career challenges during this recession, check out the following resources: