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Strategies You can Use to Convince Your Leadership about Promotion and Salary Upgrades

Handling Promotion
Convincing
Career Path
Reorganization
Large Number of Reports
Managing Up

11 September, 2018

Chris Dzoba shares how he approached the challenge of handling a fairly large team at an early-stage startup, and how he stressed the importance of promotions and allowing salary upgrades to his leadership.

Problem

I faced two challenges in my this company. First, I was handling a total of eighteen direct reports, twice the usual manager-to-directs ratio. Second, I was working for founders who were not very open about further spending for salaries, hence, not always supportive of promoting people and pursuing organizational restructure.

Actions taken

I took three actions to resolve my concerns. First, as a tactical means to manage a large team, I conducted weekly 30min one-on-ones with my direct reports. This involved a lot of work on my part and I kept telling my leadership that having such a large number of reports was not ideal and was counterproductive. As a quick fix, I identified two engineers as team leaders who started doing team management tasks daily without any salary upgrade. This helped a lot to distribute the workload since they then managed half of my team. Second, I launched thorough performance reviews for my team and consistently updated the leadership of their progress. This was a strategic approach so that I could recommend my people who were deserving and were ready for a promotion. In line with this effort was also a recommendation to increase the salaries of the persons in question if not give them a promotion, which the Executive Team was questioning and challenging for more justification. I really wanted to make things happen so to support my strategy, we consulted with a 3rd party HR company to come up with a pay scale structure and defined salary ranges for every role to ensure everyone was paid fairly.

Lessons learned

The key lesson here was the importance of educating founders on fair compensation and pursuing this cause even if there was some push back. I could have gone to consult with the 3rd party HR a lot sooner and not simply relied on promises to promote after every performance review that got pushed out a number of times anyway.


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