In the past month, I’ve had three women call me for advice on how to ask their employers for something. Mostly, these women were looking for flex-schedules with the ability to work from home or leave early on Friday’s, or just for added team support to optimally deliver on client needs.
All of these women are rockstars in their field. They’re smart, savvy, and have put in more than their fair share of hours for the good of the business. But like so many other working women, they’ve kept their heads down, worked hard, and never asked for a thing except to keep their job.
There’s three factors to keep in mind when putting in an ask to the higher ups. It’s all about using your v-cards: voice, value, and victories (what were you thinking it was???).
Victory: Before you make demands of company leadership, understand what would be considered a win for you. If it’s truly flex time you’re after, don’t ask for a raise - make it clear what the end goal is and what’s going to make you a better employee. You also don’t want to be the employee that’s always asking for more — make it a one-time thing where you lay out exactly what your requests are and how it’s going to work.
Value: Understand your value to the bottom line of the business. Do you contribute to a portion of the profit? Would a client or customer leave if it wasn’t for you? Is there a group of employees that value your leadership and need you to stay? When you make an ask, it’s important that it’s not about you and “your needs.” It’s about the needs of the business and what you can do to help it grow.
Voice: Once you know what you want, and you understand why getting it is going to help the business, don’t be afraid to speak up. I know it’s much easier said than done, but really, what’s the worst thing that happens? They say no. For most working women, you’re smarter than you think, your opinion is important to those around you, and in most cases, your company wants to hear from you. So speak up, make your ask, and use your voice.
Have you asked for something at work recently and found a small victory? Have you been afraid to make the ask and ended up regretting it? Let me know @jennbabbit or email@example.com.