It’s review time! That joyous time of year when you sit with your Manager or Partner and look at your billables for the year. What we’re seeing is a strong move away from purely looking at your numbers, and towards understanding what each team member brings to the organisation. Here’s what we’ve seen work well.
1. Be Prepared
Plan, plan, plan. Know what you’re going to talk about and what is most important. Have a look at your numbers for the year and identify where you believe you excelled and where you think you could improve. We aren’t infallible and admitting that you have areas of weakness demonstrates a strong sense of self-awareness. Reflect on the past year and bring both your strengths and weaknesses to the table. Do your research on what you’re worth in the market and have all the information to hand when you’re in the meeting room.
2. Be Curious
Ask questions about where your firm is headed and what that means for you long term. Ask what growth and development looks like. Ask what their appetite to invest in further training courses for you to develop in key areas is. You’ve ascertained where you could improve so show them that you’re willing to put in the leg work to get there. Ask what technical or interpersonal skills they feel you should focus on. Ask enough questions to validate to yourself that this is somewhere you want to be long term and that you are committed to the journey at hand.
3. Be Bold
Now that you’ve undertaken the relevant research, and have a strong idea around where your firm is heading, you should have a good idea where you stand. Be bold in what you’re asking for and make sure that it’s justified. Salary isn’t the only topic being negotiated here. Now is the time to set out your career expectations and what you’re seeking long term. Outline your goals and reiterate how they work with the business’ goals. Working from home? Time off in lieu? Better business development options? They’re all things you can look at and reasonably ask for. A good question to ask yourself before your review is; what would demonstrate a 20% improvement in your day-to-day fulfilment in your role, with the exception of a pay increase?
4. Be You
You bring a unique set of skills and experiences to the table. Nobody else has been through exactly what you have. How you view things and manage conversations is entirely upon your version of reality. This is something that cannot be embodied by anyone else. How you interact with the juniors, how you manage that particular client, how you keep the team together while the Partner is absent, are all your particular skills. Sure, you can find someone who can do those things but can they do it the way you do? The way the team is familiar with? The way that works? That is your unique selling proposition. Use it.
The bottom line is this: sitting back and nodding along while your Partner runs through your figures for the year will only get you so far. Use this opportunity to have a real conversation around the synergies of where you and your firm are heading. Use this as your opportunity to move your career ahead.