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I've been at my current job as a software developer for nearly two years (22.5 months, to be exact). I'm due an appraisal every year, so my next one should be in July, when I reach my two year anniversary with the company.

The appraisal is usually very informal. Last year it consisted of a short discussion, followed by a salary renegotiation. It's informal enough that there's no set date for it, I was just called into the conference room one day out of the blue.

I'd really like it to be moved sooner, as there are some things I wish to discuss and renegotiate. The main issue I want to discuss is flexible work hours, which is something I really want. I asked for it in my last appraisal and was given it informally by one manager, but then subsequently denied it by a different manager. I feel that I've become more integral to the company in the last year, building some important products and taking on new responsibilities, so I think I'm in a better position to negotiate full flexible working

I'm not great with this sort of thing; I worry that by asking I'll come across as confrontational. It's a small company, so I still have to sit across the room from my bosses if they say no!

What strategies would the Stack Exchange community recommend?

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    I worked at a place with a similar setup in the past, except if we wanted a review we had to ask for it. It was a family run business, and anniversaries were announced via company-wide email. I would reply to that email (sending only to my boss) asking for the review. If you don't make it confrontational then it will not be confrontational. Just be polite. – Dave Johnson May 22 '13 at 13:22
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    If you're very eager to have that interview earlier than usual, I'd get the impression that you want your yearly pay raise early. This might come across as pushy. Are there any good reasons to make this happen? (i.e. big achievements or a lot of overtime) What are the other issues you want to discuss? Do you think that there might be ways you can discuss the other issues outside of your appraisal interview? – Onno May 22 '13 at 13:59
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    Yearly pay raise? Ooh, how I wish there were things like that here... – Juha Untinen May 22 '13 at 14:01
  • Well, I'm assuming that the reneg will usually include inflation compentation. Usually a pay raise is nominal. A real pay raise (in the economic sense of the word) is always nice but might not be as attainable. – Onno May 22 '13 at 14:02
  • Thanks for replying, everybody! It's mainly because the company doesn't offer flexible working, which is something I really want. I asked for it in my last appraisal and was given it informally by one manager, but then subsequently denied it by a different manager. I feel that I've become more integral to the company in the last year, building some important products and taking on new responsibilities, so I think I'm in a better position to negotiate full flexible working. – surfitscrollit May 22 '13 at 14:25
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If the culture is as informal as you say, then there should be no (big) problem on asking to schedule an appraisal interview just a bit sooner then the standard 12 months. In the comments on your question you describe that one of your main concerns you want to discuss is that you want to work flexible working hours. I'd say that this is something that is typically discussed during appraisal interviews, so you should be within you rights to put it on the table. It might be a good idea to make clear that this is one reason you want the interview, if not the primary reason, with the person you're going to do the interview with. Also, if you achieve the flexible hours you want, I'd have this put on paper as some kind of addendum to your contract, so that it isn't brushed away later. You say that you have contributed and made your mark (in a way) I think this should give you some leverage.

On the other hand, if company policy doesn't allow flexible working hours in general, you might have been given an empty promise last year. It might be that your manager wasn't within his rights to decide this for the company, and that HR turned it down or that his boss didn't like the idea. If that is the case, you might not get it this time either. It might be a good idea to find out the exact reason why you didn't get what you were promised last year. The only way to find out if you can get it this time is to put it on the table and to make it clear that it is something that matters to you. I suspect it might cost you a bit of salary to attain those flexible hours. (Because people with flexible hours are sometimes seen as less dependable or more costly) In the end you're only going to achieve it if you make it clear that is matters to you. It might be a good idea to think through what would be an acceptable bargain for you before you ask for the interview. It will only be confrontational if you take the conversation down that road. The question itself isn't offensive in my opinion.

  • Thanks so much! The story with the flexible working - last year I asked for it, they explained that as the support team can't have it (they're bound to the phone hours) the developers can't, but one of my bosses said I could have it informally, e.g. occasionally leave an hour early. All three company directors were in the meeting when this was decided. A few months later I asked one of the directors to leave early and was denied, and he claimed that was never agreed previously. Perhaps this would be better as its own question though? – surfitscrollit May 22 '13 at 15:05
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    Ouch, that kind of changes the situation. You see, you were never given the promise officially! It seems that there's just one boss that thinks it's ok, and that the others disagree with him. Given that you were more or less turned down last year, will make it likely that the same will happen now unless company policy has changed in the mean time. I'd say your best bet will be to explain why you need this so much. And you should definitely get it on paper, so that there are no excuses afterwards. – Onno May 22 '13 at 15:21
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    Thanks. Yeah I definitely need to get it in writing, it was my own naivety that stopped me doing so last time (This is my first job). – surfitscrollit May 22 '13 at 16:11
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You need to make sure you have a valid reason for flexible hours. I asked my company for flexible hours and I did showed them a valid reason. They told me to create a excel sheet and log my time. It was only to make sure I cover up the hours. In your case you can do the same and also give them the idea of logging working hours.

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