With July just around the corner, we are nearing the halfway point of 2023. Companies often use the mid-year mark to assess business performance, make adjustments and strategize on how to finish strong.
Smart, growth-focused Finance and Accounting professionals understand the same can be said for advancing your career.
Mid-year reviews provide an opportunity for career-focused conversations between you and your manager. They are designed to evaluate and measure how well you are achieving or advancing toward individual, team and corporate goals.
But savvy employees can turn mid-year check-ins into a catalyst for personal and professional success by entering the conversation with a growth mindset.
The key is thinking beyond your mid-year milestones. In preparation for the conversation, you’ll want to focus on your career trajectory, long-term professional goals, how you contribute to the larger team, and where you make an impact in company culture. In Accounting and Finance, work often revolves around attention to detail, analytical skills, financial knowledge, the ability to handle confidential information, leveraging technology, driving innovation, and improving processes, systems and procedures. So it’s important to focus on these key areas during your mid-year review.
Here are five tips to highlight your contributions and leadership to position yourself for advancement, a promotion or bonus.
Focus on your commitment to growth
Review your key performance indicators (KPIs) and goals prior to the meeting. Be prepared to highlight how you’ve met, exceeded or are advancing toward your goals. Detail concrete examples of your successes and business targets, especially in areas that you have excelled or where you’ve gone above and beyond. Examples include: Exceeded projected numerical goals, brought in a specific number of new clients or completed a project before deadline.
Then, transparently explain gaps or areas in which you need support. Don’t be shy in discussing roadblocks, pivots or projects that are “stuck.” Some tips for talking about these areas:
- Begin with a brief explanation of the issue or challenge.
- Showcase your problem-solving skills and the steps you’ve taken to overcome the issue.
- Present your recommendation on how to move forward.
- Ask for the tools, resources or the support you need and emphasize how they will be implemented or utilized to achieve the goal.
Solicit candid feedback
It’s critical to seek input on your performance. Not only does this illuminate blind spots or areas of improvement that you might not be aware of, but it also shows that you are focused on accountability and that you are a team player dedicated to helping the organization succeed. Soliciting constructive feedback highlights your communication skills and self-awareness in personal and professional growth.
Showcase your leadership skills
Empathy, critical thinking, motivation, organization, decision-making, communication and team building — these are some of the traits that managers track for internal promotions. Discussing your effective leadership skills helps your supervisor understand how and why you are qualified for a promotion or managerial role. For example, you may have good rapport with colleagues and are quick to resolve conflicts. You try to see situations from the perspective of your peers, or you consistently accept new responsibilities and opportunities.
If you aren’t clear on what good leadership is, or if you haven’t had leadership opportunities in the past, now is the time to ask for help in building these skills. Before the check-in, think about your strengths and weaknesses and identify one or two areas in which you want to grow. Ask for support with leadership development and explain that you are ready to tackle challenges with new thinking and skill sets.
Ask for professional development
The best way to advance in your company and career is through professional training and growth. Professional development not only enhances your competencies but can also significantly contribute to your team’s efficiency and the overall growth of the company. Identify opportunities and areas for skills development that benefit both you and the organization, whether it be technology, processes and procedures, or leadership to increase productivity and overall business success.
Most employers recognize that continuous learning is necessary to stay updated with industry trends, new technologies, and regulatory changes. Your mid-year check-in is the perfect time to plan for professional development that will propel the company toward future success in 2024 and beyond.
Make your case
Whether you are asking for professional development, a promotion or raise, make sure it’s justifiable. Prepare your key points and metrics and do some research. If asking for a raise, detail your achievements and KPIs to concretely explain why you deserve more pay, and research your job title and the labor market. If it’s professional development you’re after, reference some coaching classes or online training that interest you, or identify a colleague who would be a good fit as your mentor.
While some companies defer to year-end for decisions on promotions, bonuses and pay, your mid-year check-in is the perfect opportunity to start that conversation and understand the steps needed for year-end success and to catapult your career.