Virtual Promotions: Are They Possible?

So, this week, my company recognized me in one of those extraordinary ways by moving me forward in our organization.  As humbling as that moment was, my CEO at Coley & Associates made it even more monumental by mentioning that my title reflects the person I have aspired to become while my work demonstrates that virtual employment is a mutually beneficial investment.  So many times, as a virtual employee you may wonder whether the translation of your skillsets and contributions are being accurately measured when you work from home.

When you work from home, and are part of a remote team, it is quite possible to run the risk of being considered out of sight and out of mind. While this is a daunting obstacle, there are many ways to overcome this mental burden.  This may include and should not be limited to tapping into one’s proactivity, assertiveness, and sense of urgency that drives you each day to reach your goals. When this is done effectively, it can become quite difficult for those around you to not sit up and take notice that you are effectively functioning within the structure of the virtual constraint and seeking to be an engaged, participating, full-time member of your organization. So, with the many tools and opportunities that are available to virtual employees, why do so many of us wonder if it is possible to get promoted as a virtual employee?

Sight Unseen, See Me, Trust Me

So many of us in the virtual environment develop a work habit of working at a pace that is measurable to faster-than-average, to demonstrate that we can deliver. However, when this becomes our mode of operation, we often find that we can be easily dissatisfied if we do not receive the acknowledgement for working beyond and exceeding expectations.  On the other end of the spectrum, as mentioned in previous blogs, some virtual employees have engaged in a custom of only doing what is required because they have become complacent and unappreciative of the privilege of working as a virtual employee.  So the real dilemma is how to build trust, make a difference, and be recognized for exceeding your employers’ expectations, when you do not work in the home office base.

Here are 6 tips to help you engage in the active process of proving you deserve a promotion: 

No Team of One

It is important to remember as a virtual employee, that you do not need to over emphasis the term, “I”. It is quite clear you cannot get anything done by yourself, so every opportunity you choose to swap praise and recognize those that have gone beyond the call of duty for you will be interpreted as you being an inclusive and genuine team player.

Build Your Network

Take the time to get to know each member of your home base team. While they do not work closely with you each day they have many opportunities to share what it is like working with you as a part of their team, which is reflective of your leadership style.

Seek Out a Mentor

This of course is one of my favorites, how do you know how to effectively gauge your accomplishments and growth if you do not have an objective individual working on your behalf?  Seek out and work with a mentor; this can also reflect your ability to be a part of continuous learning process.

Acquire New Skills and Ask for More Responsibility

Don’t lose sight of your personal growth through newly acquired skills. Remove statements like “I want”, and replace with “I will”.  This level of accountability and ownership over your personal growth will be you actively participating in your organization’s growth, and demonstrate your role in your own professional movement and growth.

Track Your Progress

Never leave the touting of your personal accomplishments up to someone else.  Remain invested in the promotion process, by speaking with your supervisor, manager, and director frequently and often to make sure they are aware, you care about moving along a continuum with your career expectations.

Ask for What You Want

Frankly, don’t be shy, in regards to this assertion.  You are your biggest advocate, so do not take this effort lightly, be mindful, purposeful, and choose your moment to address this in the most professional, diplomatic, and deliberate manner.

Become the Success Story

While proving your worth is a part of your own professional challenge, demonstrating your value is part of your professional responsibility. When someone tells you they value you, this is a sign that your professional investment is yielding you the highest rate of return on your promotional journey.  Remote work has numerous benefits which include independence, autonomy, freedom, and creativity. However, these are things that one should not take for granted, even when you are acknowledged by your company and provided with a promotion. It goes without saying that working for a company that values you swiftly can’t hurt your chances of upward movement. Since working with Coley Solutions after being in a prior organization for 19 years, I quickly noticed that our team was fully invested in our customer’s goals and aimed to always exceed their expectations. What is most profound about this principle is the way it is applied by our employees as well. When this is acknowledged, you tend to not want to rewrite the formula for this team winning equation.

A study from a management review in 2012 stated that companies do not promote remote workers. However, I believe you should allow you own personal story to prove these studies wrong.  Make a place for yourself in your company via virtual or home base, be a thought leader, make noise for yourself, do it with class, and then embrace the opportunities that will come from the way you have demonstrated to others that you are a force to be reckoned with!

By Janet Williams

As Director of Human Capital and Performance Consulting for Coley & Associates, Dr. Janet E. Williams provides Government clients and commercial companies insight on how to leverage resources and maximize services for improvements to company operations. She specializes in mentoring, progressive management process improvements, accountability and control, revenue enhancements, and other organizational change methods. For almost 20 years, Dr. Williams worked in government and head an Emerging Leaders Program for mentoring youth. Janet holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Hampton University a MBA from Troy State University, and her doctorate in Public Policy and Leadership from Walden University.

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