How to make sure your boss notices your hard work and keeps you happy

  • Changing jobs is a tried and true way to get a raise.
  • But if you love your job and don’t want to quit, you need a different tactic to get a raise.
  • Experts suggest asking your boss for a “stay interview.”

Changing jobs is a tried and true way to achieve increased pay, secure more fulfilling work, or achieve a better work-life balance. Just ask the 50 million people who voluntarily quit their jobs last year. Some may be, or it wasyour colleagues themselves.

But if you don’t necessarily want to quit, your options are more limited. Getting your superiors to notice your good work (and making sure you’re rewarded for it in ways you care about) takes finesse and refinement.

That’s where the “stay interview” comes into the equation.

A retention interview is, essentially, a career conversation usually initiated by managers to understand why high-performing employees stay with an organization and what might cause them to leave. In the age of the Great Resignation, and with more than half of US workers looking to leave their jobs by 2023, a growing number of companies are using stay interviews to retain their best people.

But you don’t have to wait for your boss to recommend you.

“Right now, when there’s so much change, there’s a lot of opportunity for workers to take the bull by the horns,” said Nate Smith, CEO of Lever, a human resources platform. “You should feel empowered to have that conversation with your manager, especially if there are certain things you want to accomplish in the next year or years.”

So how should you request one? And what can you say? Insider spoke to four HR leaders and career experts and coaches to find out how to get the most out of your residency interview.

Latina woman and white male colleague in conversation looking at a tablet.

Laurie Ruettimann, a former human resources leader and author, said that before drawing attention to challenges, you should have thought about an ideal future state.

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Think about your goals and set a positive tone

Before asking for a residency interview, Smith advised, think about exactly what you want to get out of the conversation.

Maybe you’re looking for more flexibility or more visibility. Perhaps you are looking for opportunities to learn and grow. Ask yourself, “What do I want? And what are some ways I can get what I want?”

At the same time, be sure to put yourself in your boss’s shoes to show you’re on the same team, Smith said.

“The more you can align your specific goals with the goals of your manager and organization, the more likely you are to get a response,” he said.

You don’t want your manager to think that asking for a stay interview is giving you an ultimatum, said Joshua Luna, a leadership and development coach in Chicago. After all, your goal is not to qualify as a high flight risk.

Luna recommended saying from the start that you enjoy working for the company. You can mention a company initiative you’re excited about or a job you enjoyed. “Letting your boss know you’re happy and in a good mood will set the right tone,” she said.

Take charge of the conversation

Your boss might have a typical set of questions: “What keeps you working here? What would make your job more fulfilling? What would tempt you to leave?” And you should have thoughtful answers to them.

But don’t be afraid to take the lead in this conversation. It may be uncomfortable at first, but taking responsibility shows you own your career, Luna said. “You have to advocate for yourself,” he said. “If you bring enough value to your organization and your manager values ​​your contributions, everything is on the table.”

Be direct, but not threatening. She recommended showing your boss you’re serious and committed by saying something like, “Over the next six to 12 months, I’m looking to take on X projects, gain Y visibility, and develop Z skills, and I’d love to see more opportunities in those sectors”.

Dain Dunston, executive coach and author of “Being Essential: Seven Questions for Living and Leading With Radical Self-Awareness,” advised taking a helpful approach. Frame your ideas around your desire to “make a greater contribution and impact” to the organization, he said.

“You can say, ‘I have an idea that could improve a process or a product for everyone. Will you give me a chance to try?” said Dunston. “Your goal is to show that you care about making things better.”

Find problems with care

For bosses, retention interviews are a tool for managing small issues before they become big reasons for people to leave. For employees, it’s a great opportunity to raise pain points.

Laurie Ruettimann, a former human resources leader and author of “Betting on You,” said that before drawing attention to challenges, you should have thought about an ideal future situation.

“Maybe you don’t know how to get there, but you know that a healthy compromise or a productive solution is possible,” he said. “Then help your boss help you.”

For example, let’s say you’re unhappy with your work-life balance. (Join the club!) Don’t talk about how you’re bogged down. Instead, be curious and collaborative. Talk about how and when you do your best work, where the choke points occur in your workflow, and how you and the team can address some of the issues that are holding back balance.

“Allow your boss to be a partner and advocate,” Ruettimann said.

This story was originally published on January 31, 2022.

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