10 Ways to Get What You Want at Work

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By Hannah Morgan

You may not be getting the training or feedback you want from your job, according to The Global Workforce Leadership Survey released this week by Saba and WorkplaceTrends.com. But that doesn't mean you have to take it lying down.

The study reports that 61 percent of U.S. employees want company-provided training. These same employees say training would make them more effective, more engaged in work and more satisfied with the company.

The study also reports that while 56 percent of employees receive an annual performance review, almost half (47 percent) of employees surveyed really want weekly or quarterly feedback.

The mismatch between what you expect and what your employer or manager can actually deliver doesn't have to hamper your career development or job satisfaction. Don't allow budget restrictions, company policy or your manager's priorities to determine your success. Here's how to take initiative to get what you want.1. Get more from your performance review. During your review, you are evaluated on your skills and competencies, productivity and even how your contributions impact the organization – but is that enough?

Don't you really want your manager's support for your career and development goals? If so, be ready at your next review to share your goals and ask for ideas on how you might accomplish them. If you don't have specific goals, ask for your manager's help in identifying options.

2. Ask better questions to get better feedback. Waiting 12 months for a review on your performance seems like a long time. If you want more frequent feedback, make it easier for your manager to provide it. Ask for a monthly check-in meeting with your manager. Be sure that you are prepared with specific data and questions to get the most from this meeting. For example, if you want to understand how the project you are working on impacts the company, you will probably need to ask a series of questions to see the bigger picture.

3. Learn by doing. The top-ranked method for acquiring new skills is through on-the-job experience, according to the study. We learn by doing. So how can you learn new skills without actually stepping into a new job? Suggest cross-training with other departments or groups. When you know how to do more than one job, this also increases your value to the organization.

4. Teach each other. If your teammates are reluctant to cross-train, you could propose employee-driven "lunch-and-learns" as an alternative. This gives each person the opportunity to speak on a topic he or she knows best and doesn't require management's involvement.

5. Get more training. Rather than expecting the company to provide training, you can get it yourself. There are so many reasons why your company isn't providing the training you want. Turn this around today by seeking out training. Check out the low-cost or free training available on sites such as Udemy, Coursera, edX, Khan Academy, Udacity, Skillshare, Lynda.com and General Assembly. You can also ask for mentoring or tutoring from someone who has skills you want.

6. Ban together. Collaborate with employees to develop resources and tools to do your jobs better. This removes the burden from management and empowers you.

7. Present group ideas for development. Poll your team for the type of training desired, and share the results with your manager. Sometimes there is power in numbers. Your manager may find it more difficult to put off or ignore training and development when employees collectively suggest ideas.

9. Send a representative. Tight budgets mean your company may not have the financial resources to send an entire team to training. That shouldn't mean you all lose out. Identify a relevant training program or event and offer to bring the information back and train the team.

9. Ask for peer feedback. Who knows your work best? The people who sit beside you or interact with you regularly. You can ask your peers to provide feedback in specific areas you want to improve upon. Not only is this a chance to personally improve, but it may also help you work together better.

10. Make it easy to get feedback. Not everyone is comfortable providing feedback. You may want to create a checklist of skills you would like feedback on. For example, if you are interested in improving your leadership competencies, define the specific skills you want evaluated, such as communicating project updates, managing budgets and timelines or developing others. It is also important for you to receive the feedback without getting defensive. Remember: You asked for it.

The common theme to all these tips is to demand less and initiate more. Instead of expecting your manager or your company to fulfill all your professional development needs, look for new ways to accomplish the same goals.

Hannah Morgan writes and speaks on career topics and job search trends on her blog Career Sherpa. She co-authored "Social Networking for Business Success," and has developed and delivered programs to help job seekers understand how to look for work better.
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