A former US state senator once said ‘working hard and working smart sometimes can be two different things.’ We live in a world where work no longer stops when you leave the office at 5.30; a vast majority of us putting in hours of overtime, checking emails on the underground and working at the weekends. Recent employment statistics from The Open University prove that 80% of Brits feel overworked and almost a third consider themselves to be close to ‘burn out’. The nine ‘til five feels like the survival of the fittest as we strive to impress, work to meet targets and gain in the workplace. Yet as recent surveys highlight the differences between what employees think they should be doing and what employers actually want, perhaps it’s time to start working smarter after all.
How to get a promotion – what we think
How well do you know your boss? Although you might get on at work drinks on a Friday, do you know what you should be doing to impress on a Monday morning? Although every office is a little different, it seems there are some common mistakes we all make when it comes to impressing senior management.
According to recent statistics, the top three qualities we believe our managers are looking for include meeting deadlines, meeting targets and working long hours. It may seem surprising therefore that only 25% of employers surveyed said meeting deadlines really mattered when offering promotions. Moreover, 85% agreed that working as hard as you can to try and make their lives easier was the least desirable quality in an employee. What do they want then?
How to get a promotion – what your boss is looking for
Although we may be a little biased, here at Hotcourses learning is ingrained in everything we do. Whether it’s going on a yoga course on a Wednesday evening, or brushing up our internet marketing techniques to help further our careers. It seems this attitude is shared by a vast number of employers, who cited work-based qualifications or additional learning as the reason behind pay rises or promotions. Forget the overtime, perhaps adult learning is the secret to success after all.
Shockingly only 23% of us believe that learning new skills to help improve our work is important to our managers. Why spend a day going on a project management course when you could be putting the hours in, right? Wrong. 46% of employers interviewed said gaining qualifications through additional education was important to them. Following close behind, the second and third highest qualities mentioned by employers were going on work related training courses and gaining knowledge through online learning. Whatever sector you work in, as the industry changes having up to date skills will be a sure way to show your dedication.
Top five things to keep in mind
Before you all rush to find a training course, there are a few important things to consider.
1. Qualifications – if your manager is looking for qualified staff make sure you find a course that will give you a recognised certificate upon completion. Although experience is great, putting that grade on your CV can help in the future.
2. Taking time off – In 2010 a scheme was introduced that gave staff the right to ask for time off to go on a training course. You will usually need to have been working for the employer for at least 26 weeks and be in an organisation with at least 250 people. Although this time off may be unpaid, being given extra time for training could pay off in the long run.
3. Training online – Finding time in our hectic lives to study can be tricky, so why not consider learning online? Cutting down travel time and expenses, learning from your living room is often a popular option for adult learners. This is also a good option if your employer is not keen on giving you time off for your learning.
4. You might be eligible for a subsidised course – If you are between the ages of 16 and 24, you may be eligible for a free, or subsidised course. Most course providers will suggest getting in touch with them as they will be able to explain more about how to apply and which age groups qualify for free courses.
5. Adult learners can apply for grants and bursaries – For most grants and bursaries you will need to apply directly to the organisation, and will not have to pay the money back. There are also professional and career development loans to pay for courses and training that will help with your job. Our best advice is to check with gov.uk.
Jane McGuire received her BA (English) from the University of Loughborough. A yoga enthusiast with a sweet tooth, in her spare time you will probably find Jane in the gym or online shopping.