Higher pay. A cooler title. Perhaps even a snazzier office. Yes, everyone wants a promotion; for the corporate drones among us, this irrepressible urge to go from associate to senior associate to partner is essentially preternatural. In fact, in recent years, our craving for career level-ups has only grown: According to the Society for Human Resource Management, roughly 40 percent of millennials expect a promotion every year or two. Newsflash, folks: That’s not gonna happen.
Well… Probably not.
As is so happens, with the right mindset and a dose of crafty thinking, you can streamline your progress up the corporate ladder. First, be sure to implement the small (frankly obvious) measures. Keep your desk spotless. Show up on time. Stay late. Be consistently polite and disciplined and diligent. And, of course, there’s also that timeless adage: “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.”
But get this: There’s another, far easier method for nabbing that promotion—though you might not like it. (Hey, they don’t call it a “corporate ladder” for nothing: You’re supposed to climb the dang thing—and climbing is work.)
According to a study in Monthly Labor Review, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s publication of record, employees who participated in training programs were nearly twice as likely to get promoted over their peers. Now, “training programs” can mean any number of things. Maybe you’ve mastered a new computer program—like Photoshop or FinalCut Pro—that can help you spiff up presentations. Maybe you’ve attended a spate of corporate-sanctioned seminars about time management and productivity. Whatever the “training” happens to be, you’re giving yourself a leg up.
Plus, going through training helps your employers just as much as it helps you. “Employee development both trains your current employees for possible future promotion… as well as shows you which employees have aptitude for such a promotion,” says Chad Halvorson, CEO of When I Work, a productivity management software company. “Better to learn about strengths and weaknesses in training rather than out on the sales floor with actual customers.”
In short, if you desire a brand new placard and a set of business cards, it might be time to dust off your learning cap and head to class.