Being offered a promotion is something to be proud of and like many proposals the easy answer is ‘affirmative’ but before you sign the papers ask yourself a few questions to gauge your suitability, the role specification and how it will impact your everyday life.
Is the title accurate and realistic? If you have been escalated to ‘manager’ or ‘director’ does this come with the added responsibility of having junior staff to manage and if so what is their key remit? Will there be training provided to help you manage people in the most effective way and what are the expectations and methods for evaluating their performance? Is your new title recognised in the industry and is it benchmarked against certain skill sets, qualifications and experience? If the title is specialist in nature does it accurately reflect the environmental area you will be working in?
What does the everyday look like? You will never know what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes (if indeed you are filling them), until you take on the role for yourself. Asking the outgoing manager or if this is a new position, your new boss, what is expected of you is a key question. Will you be processing jobs, delegating tasks, project managing, being active in the field, attending board and client meetings, writing reports or giving presentations? Often the answer is a mixture of all these things but it’s important to know if there is a leaning towards one or other and whether more emphasis is given to one skill set. It’s also vital to understand how client-facing the role might be and the expectation of you to be visible face-to-face for either field work or meetings.
Can you work flexibly? The pandemic has re-set expectations to be present everyday and for many job roles flexibility is possible, particularly where the work entails writing reports, processing data or project managing tasks. The promotion may require you to be in the office more than you had been, whether this is to manage other staff, supervise work in the field or attend senior leadership meetings. It’s important to understand the requirements for attending the workplace and to then assess how this may interrupt your current working routine and responsibilities for family or elder care.
How will remuneration work? The elephant in the room might be pay but it’s important to set expectations and understand if the promotion carries an uplift in pay. It may not always be the case that it does and, if so, is there a clause in the contract outlining when salary will be reviewed? Is there access to management share options or shares in profits? If bonus or other rewards are performance-related, are goals specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic? What tools and training will be provided to help you deliver your objectives? Are 360-degree performance reviews from your direct reports used to assess your performance and if so, what weight does that carry? Is your performance linked to the department’s or are your solo efforts recognised? All of this will have a bearing on your remuneration outcomes and how successful you are perceived to be so it’s important to understand what criteria you are being measured against.
Are there any legal responsibilities attached to the new role? Do you need any certification or professional qualification to perform safely and legally in the new role? If you are to be a decision maker on key environmental issues then is there a legal checklist you need to benchmark your decisions against? How are you expected to keep abreast of changes to key regulations that may impact your work and will you be given the opportunity to check your recommendations? Will you be afforded the opportunity to attend conferences and keynotes to advance your knowledge?
How will your career be looked after? There will come a time when you want to move on from the newly promoted position. You must ensure that the learning and development opportunities don’t cease just because you have made it to the next rung on the career ladder. What are the available avenues to move into when the time is right? Will you be given opportunities to advance your continued professional development? Is there a mentor in a more senior role that can offer you advice and support? Do networking opportunities exist and will you get the experience in your chosen specialist field to establish your name and further your own career? While it’s important to evaluate the current step it’s also vital to look further ahead and understand the steps you need to take to get there.