Imagine you are sitting right in front of your boss in his office. You just asked for a raise.
Your boss listens, calmly. After a few seconds of quiet, your boss says: “You are an indispensable member of my team. I will try my best for you. But keep in mind we see you as a talent and we are investing in you. Regardless of the result, please consider the long-term.”
Now, should you believe it?
Should you wait for the company to prove what it says and give you a promotion someday? Or should you set a timeline to seek out your true value in the market?
First of all, if your boss is willing to sweet talk to you, at least you are considered valuable at that moment. Congratulations!
Second, there are several effective ways to tell whether a company is truly investing in you. It is what the company does that matters, not what it says. Here they are.
1. Your employer does not believe in your future value
To invest in you, the company should believe that your future value is higher than your current value. It is the same reason why your father picked that stock, why your mother urged you to own a house. Does the company see that in you? Usually, you need to be with a company long enough to let the company form this judgment.
2. Your employer shows little patience in your growth
If you are an investment, even if you don’t create profit for the company at the moment, the company should be patient with you. Warren Buffett holds his portfolio for the long-term despite short term results. Observe whether the company is investing in your growth. Of course, I would not suggest you test it out.
3. There are no constraints in your employment offer upon your departure
This is the most critical part because this is a practice that all investors do: implement risk control constraints on the investment. This is why banks demand a mortgage when approving your loan to reduce its risk.
Therefore, the most important sign that your employer is investing in you lies in the risk control constraints in your contracts. When a company invests time and capital in you, to minimize the loss in case you leave, the company use such practice. If there are no restrictive conditions, it basically means that you have no risk to the company and you are not invested.
Here are some of the most typical constraints:
- The company pays for your tuition or professional training. If you leave within 2 years (or other terms), you need to repay the tuition;
- The company pays for the relocation of your family. If you leave within 2 years (or other terms), you need to repay the relocation expense;
- The company processes your green card application. If you leave before the agreed term, you need to repay the attorney cost;
These terms show the company is trying to minimize risk on what they will invest in you.
However, in the workplace today, employees need to only give 2 weeks’ notice to quit at any time. There is a great risk to invest in employees, regardless of what they choose to tell you.
There is nothing worth being disappointed at all. If a company invests in everyone, it would hardly survive to pay your salary today. “What if I do not see any constraints in my contract, does that mean my company is not investing in me?
Fortunately, other than cash, most companies have another way to invest in you. Ask yourself these questions:
4. You are the most experienced and senior employee people on the same reporting level
This means the company hired you only for your current value and skill, not your future value. This is very normal and common, just not the sign of an investment by the company. Investors want to maximize the value they get.
What you ideally want is the company to put you in a role slightly higher than your current capacity, then let you grow into the role in a few years. The company is taking the risk when you practice on the job. Because it believes you are worth the wait as an investment.
5. The company does not provide training to you
Does your company spend a lot of time training you (such as rotations), even if you do not directly create profits in the short term?
Both of this means the company is patient with you for the long run: you are an investment.
If your case belongs to any of the above, you can trust what your boss says in the conversation at the beginning. Still, you should still ask the boss to suggest a time frame, the condition under which your company will promote you with a raise. Meanwhile, you need to train yourself at the job.
If your boss seems to be just buying time, you can go to the market to seek growth elsewhere for the value you deserve.
Of course, you can always choose to stay with the company. Whether or not the company invests in you, you can always take full advantage of the company platform to invest in yourself. The work experience, the network you build at conferences, training and meetings can all be yours if cultivated well.
What I want to tell you the most, is that in the conversation at the beginning, you are always the winner and the beneficiary. Because you will always be your most reliable investor. No one in the world, besides your mom, is more confident that your future value will be higher than the value today!