If you’ve put in great work at your company, but there’s no next rung on the ladder in sight, you’re not alone.
During the recession, many companies across the U.S. eliminated layers of management, writers Fortune columnist Anne Fisher. The result is that employees who kept businesses going during the tough times have been left without hopes for upward movement, leaving many stranded in middle management positions.
How to retain these stellar employees is a problem weighing on managers’ minds, Laura Poisson, a vice president at Boston-based career development firm ClearRock, told Forbes. “Valuable players who helped companies meet their goals during the downturn are ready to move up,” she says. “The question is, how can they, when organizations are determined to stay lean?”
Compounding the issue are baby boomers who haven’t retired on time, due to insecurity caused by the recession and real estate crash.
Since you can’t really depend on a promotion in the lean offices of today, how exactly are you supposed to advance your career?
Poisson offers these tips:
1. Contribute more directly to the company’s most significant strategic goals. The few promotions that are happening right now are happening, well, where the money is made. If you find yourself separate from that, ask to work on a project that puts you in a position where you can either make or save money for the business.
2. Explicitly discuss your career goals with your boss. This includes planning for who would take your place if you get promoted or switch positions. You may need to target a new candidate to mentor.
3. Figure out what you want. If a promotion is out of the picture for the time being, think about what else would keep you around—like flex time, more vacation days or additional training in an area that interests you.
4. Assess whether it’s worth it to stay. Maybe you’ve been telling yourself to wait it out because your company is a good place to work, but there are a lot of good places to work. Moving on could help give you a much-needed boost of confidence.