At Soul Career, we talk a lot about how finding your dream job can change your life.
But what happens after you find your dream job? How can you establish yourself as an indispensable employee in the first few months? How can you position yourself to climb the company ladder? And how can you negotiate for an increase in your salary?
To answer these questions, I talked to the COO of Soul Career and my brother Warren Rickards. Warren discusses his current role as a Strategic Customer Success Manager. And shares how he was able to get a promotion 15 months after starting his job.
Warren works at Cloudflare, a Silicon Valley tech unicorn that provides content delivery network services, DDoS mitigation, Internet security, and distributed domain name services. Some of Cloudflare’s clients include top names like Clickfunnels, Loreal, Canva and more.
As a Strategic Customer Success Manager, Warren focuses on managing the customer relationship and ensuring customer retention. Warren recently sat down with me to discuss his first 90 days on the job. And how having a clear plan helped him to establish himself at Cloudflare. He also talks about his successes and challenges and shares his salary negotiation strategy at the time of his promotion.
Warren’s First 90 Days at Cloudflare.
Throughout his first 90 days, Warren tried to be as impactful as possible. Here are four practices that he displayed:
First, he worked to build a relationship with each and every member of his team by inviting them for coffee or going for a walk. Second, he learned as much as he could about what Cloudflare does and the services they provide. Third, he shadowed his senior colleagues, listened to customer calls from senior executives and asked well-researched questions. Fourth, while continuing to shadow his colleagues, Warren demonstrated what he saw as the most effective practices. Whether that was with regards to his relationship with his clients or relationships within Cloudflare.
He formulated these activities in a detailed 90-day plan structured along learning goals, performance goals and team goals. We use this plan in our Soul Career program to help our clients succeed in the first 90 days at their new jobs.
His Biggest Successes in the First 12 Months
Within the first few months at Cloudflare Warren had one of the first paying customers for a particularly troublesome product. This was quite challenging. But he took the opportunity to reflect on his experience. And work on an internal document that other customer success managers could use to onboard the product in the future. His initiative increased his visibility within the company and established him as a thought leader.
His Biggest Challenge
Warren believes that his greatest challenge was the social upheaval associated with the Black Lives Matter movement. In response, he became involved in Afroflare – Cloudflare’s lobbying body for minority employees. He describes his experience at Afroflare as intense and deeply rewarding.
Tips to Help You Get Promoted at Work
Warren recommends establishing positive relationships with customers and colleagues. His advice is to be a team player and approach every interaction with the intention of making both you and your partner(s) successful. The higher up you go in an organization the more your relationships skills matter. For example, as a senior manager, you have to understand how to negotiate a labyrinth of personalities to get things done. So you want to show your networking capability early.
He also recommends that you work on being visible in your organization. Your visibility is a key part of your success, so avoid being a quiet mouse completing your tasks in a corner. Instead, ask people who’ve had a positive experience working with you to send a message to your manager about your performance. You shouldn’t assume that everyone is thinking of you as a priority. They also have their day to day responsibilities. So make that request instead of waiting for people to reach out on your behalf. We do this at Soul Career when we ask our clients to share their experience with us with their friends or family and on our social media platforms.
Negotiating and negotiation skills are necessary in the professional world. Unfortunately, this is also a difficult process for many of us. This is especially true for women and people of colour who tend to undersell themselves. Warren has five tips for anyone who is about to enter into a negotiation. First, he recommends researching the salary range for the relevant position. You can do this using tools like Linkedin and payscale.com. Next, when starting the negotiation, Warren suggests starting with the highest possible number (based on your research) and having a BATNA – the level of compensation that is your absolute minimum. Third, when determining your salary range, use your expenses as a guide. Warren was able to negotiate a higher base salary because he knew that this is what he needed to cover his costs. Next, be confident, share your contributions to the organization and use this as a reason for your requested amount. As a high performing talent, you have more bargaining power than you realize. Finally, give yourself a boost. You’re going to need energy and positivity to carry out what could be a challenging conversation.
Remember real negotiations come down to your value, your need and how you think you can show up for this opportunity.
How to Deal With Rejection During Your Negotiation
If you find that your salary suggestion is rejected outright, then you may want to reconsider your relationship with the organization and explore different opportunities. Getting the promotion in itself shows that you are a top candidate, you bring value, and you do good work. It also gives you more negotiating power in a different conversation with a company that has a similar position.
What’s Next for Warren
Warren would like to focus on the next 6 months. He wants to respect the significance of his promotion and ensure that he shares as much value as he can with his clients and colleagues. In the long term, Warren would like to take on more management roles and add more skills to his professional toolkit.