While many bosses say they're open to ideas and suggestions, what they do when you actually share a great idea with them is another reality entirely. (Ever had a boss nod along excitedly and promise to look into your idea, only for you to realize, months later, that nothing's happened? Exactly.)
So it's your job to convince your boss that what you have in mind is worth their time — and to help them see the idea through.
Without further ado, here are 7 tips for pitching an idea to your boss.
1. Do Your Research
Once that lightbulb above your head dings on, the next step is to research the logistics behind it. What will it take to put this idea into action?
For example, if it involves creating a new product, who might the target audience be? Check to see if someone else has created the item first and, if so, how might you improve it? What is the cost of making the product compared to the potential profit? Researching and answering these questions on your own time will help you present a well-rounded idea.
2. Develop a Presentation
Once you've determined your idea is worth sharing, develop a stellar presentation. This demonstration might involve a three-minute speech outlining the need, cost, and potential success of a new product.
You might prepare a one-page overview or even a demo to help your boss better understand the logistics and how the product might function. Be sure to let your enthusiasm show while developing — and delivering — the presentation. The most persuasive arguments are passionate.
3. Choose the Right Time
Equally crucial is what time you choose to present this idea to your boss. If you catch them at a busy moment, they'll be more likely to either disregard your suggestions, forget about them, or brush you off entirely. Try to schedule your meeting halfway through the week when work is less stressful.
Additionally, your boss is in the best position to listen when they aren't feeling rushed or bogged down with tasks. Be sure to schedule a time to meet in the morning or immediately after lunch.
4. Keep It Simple
The most powerful messages are short and sweet. While you want to come prepared, try not to over-plan. Walking in spouting the specific details of how you might create a new management role will only invite an argument.
Instead, open with a general statement regarding why you think a new position may be necessary. Avoid sounding like the expert as your boss may find this threatening or, worse, pompous. Present your idea as a possible solution and not the be-all end-all.
5. Make It Relevant
Show your boss you have the company's best interests in mind by linking your idea to their goals. For example, if you're pitching a plan to improve your company's customer service, tie your pitch to a company goal. Maybe your boss wants to retain customers or get more specific feedback from clients.
Whatever their goals, linking your idea to company objectives will show you have brand interests in mind. This step can propel your career forward and develop your presence within the company, making you the perfect candidate for raises, promotions, and other career-growth opportunities.
6. Ask for Feedback
Inviting your boss to share their input on your idea is essential if you want to get their buy-in. You want them to know you value their opinion and expertise, and if you're serious about implementing your idea, you need to know how realistic it is! Your boss is a great person to give you this feedback. They'll also be able to provide context and additional information about the company's goals that you may not have.
7. Volunteer to Lead
If your boss decides to run with your idea, be prepared to offer yourself up as a leader. They'll likely be looking for someone to organize and execute the logistical plans, and volunteering to oversee changes and developments will free them up from the responsibility of heading up project themselves. This is often what makes the difference between an idea that never sees the light of a day, and one that is brought to fruition.
More often than not, ideas fail not because the idea itself was bad, but because the people behind them lack the time/resources/dedication to see them through. Don't let that happen to you!
Have a Great Idea? Pitch It to Your Boss!
At the end of the day, the key to success is confidence... if you never propose your idea, it'll never happen. So take that first step and you might just be pleasantly surprised by how well it's received!
As we approach the end of 2019, there's no better time to reflect on the past year and prepare for 2020. This is especially true if you work from home: from tax write-offs to redesigning your home office to maximizing productivity, there's a lot you can do to make 2020 your most efficient year yet.
1) Get Your Finances in Order
The new year is an excellent opportunity to re-evaluate your budget. Take a look at the programs you're subscribing to for your job/business, and assess whether you're getting value from them. (If you're paying 60 dollars a month for web hosting for a blog you never write on, it may be time to ditch it.)
Be sure to review home office tax deduction requirements and budget for any home-office upgrades you'll need in 2020 (like buying that coveted second monitor or a standing desk). And if you're a contractor or freelancer, now is the time to start tallying up your work expenses for tax deductions.
If you didn't keep track of your business expenses this year, now is a great time to set up a spreadsheet to start tracking that information.
2) Evaluate Your Schedule
The flexibility of working from home can be freeing, but it can also make it hard to build an effective routine and maximize your productivity; after all, you don't want to let your work ooze into all hours of the day just because you never formally leave your office.
So take some time to re-plan your day-to-day schedule. If you use Google Calendar or any time tracking apps, take a look at your schedule from the past year to see how you spent most of your time. You can also take some tests to figure out when you work bestyou work best! Then consider blocking your schedule accordingly for 2020.
There is no shortage of hacks, tips and tricks out there that can help you make next year your most productive yet.
3) Optimize Your Office Space
Part of the beauty of working from home is that you have full control over your office space. But if you're not the most organized person in the world, that autonomy can present drawbacks as well.
A new year is a chance to clean up. Clutter can be a productivity killer — if your desk or office is even just a little disorganized, you may benefit massively from a bit of de-cluttering.
And once you've organized your office, you can think about straightening up your work computer. Think of all the emails, important files and useful programs you've accumulated over the past year. A lot of this will be immediately valuable — but some of it, not so much. Take quick stock of what's what. If you've built up a serious email backlog, this may seem like a substantial undertaking. But you don't have to do it all at once.
You can also use the end of the year to assess what your home office is missing and budget for purchases that will take your workspace to the next level. Get inspiration from these home-office design tips, or send this work-from-home holiday gift guide to your loved ones to help them help you!
4) Celebrate Your Victories
The new year is a chance to celebrate. No matter what struggles you've faced over the past year, you've fought battles and gained more experience than you had 365 days ago.
The end of the year is a great time to assess what could have gone better, but be sure to be kind to yourself and take an inventory of your wins as well; make a list of five accomplishments you're proud of and celebrate those victories! Use this energy to get motivated for more victories in 2020.
In 2009, General Motors filed for bankruptcy, marking "the end of an era," according to CNN. The prolific auto manufacturer received $19.4 billion in government bail-out money and, yet, they still had to slash 20,000 jobs from their plants across the U.S.
If there was one group that didn't want to see this happen, it was the United Auto Workers (UAW), GM's unionized workforce.
To help save the company, the Union made a deal with GM. They allowed GM to break union agreements and bring on new employees who would be paid half of what their veteran co-workers earned. These new employees also weren't eligible for the company's once-renowned pension plan. Later, GM brought on a number of temporary workers who received less pay, fewer benefits, and less job security than their unionized counterparts.
This setup certainly helped bring GM back to life — nowadays, the automaker is raking in record earnings. But the workers responsible for this revival feel left behind.
That's why 50,000 of them have gone on strike to demand their share of the profits.
What do they want?
In short, the UAW believes it's unfair that "temporary" and new workers do the same job as their colleagues for much less pay (and worse benefits).
They want to boost pay for entry-level workers, which now sits at less than $20 per hour. The union wants these new staffers to have a chance at reaching peak pay, nearly $30 an hour, by their third or fourth year of employment. Now, it takes about eight years to reach that pay rate.
UAW Vice President Terry Dittes summarized the Union's demands: "We are standing up for fair wages, we are standing up for affordable, quality health care. We are standing up for our share of the profits. We are standing up for job security for our members."
Additionally, union negotiators are seeking improved pensions, the retention of the worker's current healthcare plan which only requires workers to pay 4% of costs (initially, GM wanted to increase the portion of healthcare that workers paid for to 15%), and assurances that four factories slated for closure in Michigan, Ohio, and Maryland would be kept open.
How will they get it?
Without 50,000 people on the job, GM's poised to lose between $50 million and $100 million per day. GM's stock has already taken a hit, too — pre-market trading at the start of the strike showed a 3.6% drop in stock value.
What's GM's side?
Auto sales in the U.S. have taken a downturn after a boom that stretched from 2009 to 2016. That increase in sales marked the longest span of growth for the industry since the Great Depression.
Now, though, people are buying fewer vehicles. And dealers have started ordering fewer vehicles to put on the lot because they're sitting for longer and longer. This lull obviously hurts the automaker — and they want to compensate by cutting costs.
Furthermore, GM has to compete with Toyota, Honda, and other foreign automakers that operate non-union plants in states where the minimum wage is lower (generally $15 to $18 an hour).
GM has also made some counteroffers to the UAW's demands. They have offered to put $7 billion into eight of their plants. They also want to hire 5,400 new staffers. But the UAW doesn't like the automaker's plan for healthcare, nor do they want as many temporary workers on-site as the company said they'd bring in.
The automaker has also promised they'll pay an $8,000 signing bonus to new workers, should the union accept its deal. The four-year contract would also include wage gains and require the same healthcare contributions from employees as they pay now.
What does it say about corporate benefits?
Conditions for GM's temporary workers have been one of the biggest sticking points preventing the two sides from coming to an agreement. (Non-unionized workers cost GM $13 less per hour than those belonging to the union.)
These not-so-temporary temporary workers, as well as the new workers making less than their pre-bankruptcy coworkers bring a couple key issues to the forefront of the strike:
- Workers want equal pay (and benefits) for equal work - This should be obvious. But GM forced employees to work alongside others doing exactly the same job, for more or less money simply due to the time period in which they were hired.
- Benefits should not be confused with perks - Corporate benefits — specifically healthcare and retirement plans — are key issues in the strike, and workers know how much they're worth. They're not after small, "one-off" perks, they want essential benefits like quality health care that can have a tremendous impact on their bottom line and quality of life.
That these workers are willing to risk so much (striking workers received no pay until day 8 of the strike, and their benefits were at risk) in the short-term, to fight for their security in the long-term says a lot about what workers want from their employers.
They don't want an $8,000 signing bonus as much as they want lasting benefits like healthcare. And above all, they want to be paid as much as the person doing the same exact job right next to them.
Sometimes you know you're being harassed. Your boss asks you to perform certain sexual favors in exchange for a promotion — or to avoid a pink slip. Other times, sexual harassment isn't as easy to identify. How do you know if you're a victim, for example, of a hostile work environment?
Identifying sexual harassment begins with your gut instinct that something seems off. Even if you're not the target, addressing workplace problems can improve office relationships by weeding out negative individuals. However, more often, it ends in the victim losing a promising career if she doesn't understand her legal rights. Here's what you need to know about how to prove sexual harassment if you're a victim.
Different Types of Sexual Harassment
Two different types of sexual harassment exist — quid pro quo harassment and a hostile work environment. Quid pro quo harassment translates to "this for that." This occurs when a supervisor or other authority figure demands sexual favors in exchange for positive career advancement or to avoid professional consequences.
This doesn't mean all quid pro quo harassment proves as clear cut as, "sleep with me and you'll get a promotion" or "perform oral sex on me or I'll fire you." Those in managerial positions know such blatant acts can result in disciplinary action and generally choose more subtle approaches.
For example, a friend of mine - a married woman - reported her boss sent her sexually suggestive text messages inquiring if she ever fantasized about the two of them together. When she refused to engage in the conversation, he slashed her salary by a third, claiming budgetary factors indicated a choice between decreased pay or the unemployment line.
Sexual harassment occurs at all levels of an organization and isn't confined to management. Although rare, quid pro quo harassment can occur between co-workers. For example, if a woman confides in a male colleague about her struggles with drug addiction, he may threaten to reveal her condition to the boss if she doesn't perform sexual favors.
Another type of harassment occurs when innuendos, jokes, and even unjust rule enforcement create a hostile work environment. Offensive jokes, physical assaults or threats thereof, insults, put-downs, name-calling, slurs, or offensive pictures and objects that interfere with work performance can all be considered to create a hostile work environment.
To meet the standard, these acts must go beyond being simply annoying or irritating. They must occur on a persistent basis and be pervasive enough that a reasonable person finds them offensive.
A hostile work environment might also be at play when patterns of unwanted attention result in negative action.
For example, if one co-worker asks another out and gets rejected, they may retaliate by spreading sexual rumors about the object of their affection, or retaliating in more subtle but equally professionally damaging ways: refusing to provide the victim with beneficial projects, refusing to assist the victim with otherwise typical work tasks, etc. Many companies prohibit co-workers from dating one another to minimize such incidents.
However, such policies are difficult to enforce pragmatically. Additionally, ongoing gender discrimination leads many male managers to believe women welcome such unwanted advances.
In a hostile work environment, the targeted victim need not file a complaint themselves. Those who witness the harassment occurring can also intervene.
For example, 30 states lack equal protections for sexual orientation or gender identity per statute. This means many lesbians who experience harassment pass on reporting such incidents to HR. They fear retaliatory actions for doing so. Allies of the LGBTQ+ community should report hostile work environments for those who may fear losing their jobs.
How to Identify Sexual Harassment
If you're the target of sexual harassment, chances are, you instinctively feel something is wrong. However, keeping an eye out for certain behaviors in the workplace can help you become a better ally to women and members of the LGBTQ+ community alike.
- Inappropriate touching. Some people are touchier than others. Certain folks like to greet everyone with big hugs and air kisses. However, in a professional setting, respecting individual boundaries is critical. If a particular co-worker or supervisor continues to get touchy even after you've asked them to stop, consult HR for recommendations.
- Jokes of a sexual nature. Is the banter around your office not work-appropriate? If so, this could create a hostile work environment. Jokes regarding other people's physical characteristics are never OK, especially if they center on breasts or genitals.
- Overly intrusive conversations. Asking, "how was your romantic weekend with your new beau," is acceptable. Inquiring about how hot and heavy things got between the sheets is not. In interview situations — including ones for promotions — asking about your plans for getting married or having children is not OK.
- Forwarding inappropriate materials. You may find the joke your friend shared on Facebook hilarious. However, if anything smacks of an off-color hue, take a hard pass on forwarding the meme around the office. If you're shooting naughty boudoir pics on your iPhone, think carefully before texting them. If they accidentally end up in a boss's or co-worker's hands, you could find yourself on the losing end of a harassment suit.
Who to Contact About a Harassment Claim
If you witness sexual harassment in the workplace, who do you report it to? The decision ultimately depends on the size of your organization, your level of trust, and alternate reporting options.
In general, beginning by reporting in-house proves most effective, especially in cases of a hostile work environment. This allows HR representatives to work privately with offending individuals to modify their behavior. Proceeding in this manner can ease interoffice relationships, as the party need not lose their job if they display genuine remorse and a commitment to change.
However, if you work for a small firm, things may be more difficult. There may not be anyone dedicated to processing such claims. In this case, file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. You must do so before commencing a lawsuit against your employer for damages. The agency will give you a "right to sue" letter to present to attorneys. As many state statute of limitations for sexual harassment run out after only a few months following the last reported incident, filing in a timely manner is critical.
Finally, you'll want to contact a licensed employment attorney. Ultimately, the company you work for is liable for harassment if it knew of the offense and did nothing or little to stop it. That's another reason why reporting to HR first in many cases proves critical.
How to Prove Sexual Harassment Occurred
Many sexual harassment cases boil down to he-said-she-said debates, so documenting the incidents proves critical. When you first suspect harassment, start collecting evidence.
Create a journal indicating the dates, times, and descriptions of harassing incidents. Due to the malleable nature of handwritten documents, keep an electronic record if possible. While rare, if forensic computer scientists need to pinpoint the exact date an event occurred, they can verify it.
If others witness the events, ask them to verify your account. Write down the names of any parties who can confirm when and where specific things occurred.
Save copies of all text messages. For example, you can use apps to transfer text messages and Messenger notifications to your computer for printing. Recording phone calls remains illegal in many cases without notice, but if you can verify you were a party, such evidence may prove admissible.
Finally, document any adverse actions your harasser took against you. Include information such as dates you heard about specific rumors circulating, especially if the offender is a co-worker, not a superior. You may encounter difficulty proving these rumors impacted your ability to get a raise or led to your dismissal. However, the more evidence you amass, the better your chances of receiving financial compensation for injuries suffered.
Stopping Sexual Harassment
While many critics feel we can no more eliminate sexual harassment than we can stop murder, current laws enforce the values we as a society hold dear. By holding harassers liable for their behavior, we can create a more inclusive, positive, and productive workforce.