A small company has a relatively high employee turnover rate. There are a handful of employees, however, that have stuck around and know the ins and outs of handling the company's business. The basic company structure is CEO, manager, and then there are supposed to be some ancillary positions, but the manager is currently wearing those hats (the positions aren't filled due to complacency or what have you). Some of the seasoned employees know that the manager intends to leave the company soon, but the CEO doesn't know and will probably be blind-sided. This leaves the now-smaller handful of seasoned employees as the ones who will probably be responsible for on-boarding that deficit.

Now obviously there are no positions on the table because officially they haven't been vacated. What strategies exist to improves one's own position in a company on this knowledge? And to take it a step further, say you plan to leave soon, too, but you still want to improve your position for the interim, is a strategy worth pursuing on a 6-8 month horizon?

Note that I do not work at [the company], so my ability to clarify anything will be limited.

  • 2
    How do you (or your friend) know that the manager is leaving? Does the manager know that you know? – David K Nov 26 '18 at 15:49
  • @DavidK Most of the seasoned employees are friends and know such dynamics. – CKM Nov 26 '18 at 15:50
  • How do you define "Improve ones position" in this case? What do you (or your friend) aim for? – rasan076 Nov 26 '18 at 15:52
  • @rasan076 I can imagine the goal would be to negotiate higher pay, fill the manager position or one of the ancillary positions that will now undoubtedly be forced open out of necessity, or we even discussed on the 6-8mo horizon negotiating a contract to ensure people get on-boarded properly because, in effect, a trainer will be quite absent. – CKM Nov 26 '18 at 15:56
  • This is confusing. You say that you don't work there ... so are you asking how to help a friend get promoted or are you asking how to get that managers job as they are on their way out? – NotMe Nov 26 '18 at 15:58

The simple answer is to start taking on the duties of the position you want. If you have a good relationship with the person leaving, they can help you transition into that position so that when they leave, you would be the logical choice.

Even if you are not selected to fill the role, and you become another turnover statistic, you'll be able to use performing those duties into your next role at a different company.

  • +1 was in the middle of typing up essentially the same thing. Basically prepare for the succession you know is coming, even if the manager's boss doesn't, that way you're ready to step in and solve his upcoming problem. – Steve-O Nov 26 '18 at 15:58
  • So is the message here to work with the manager to ensure you come out in a better position in the aftermath of things? Is there any downside, since the hiring body aka the CEO doesn't know what's going on? – CKM Nov 26 '18 at 16:07
  • I guess from my point of view: How would you take on duties of the position you want if you're tasked to do something else, without potentially looking like you're slacking on your current role? – CKM Nov 26 '18 at 16:11
  • @CKM you do so judiciously. I don't know any CEO who would be upset if, when hit with the news that an employee was leaving, found one internally who could step up, regardless of the circumstances. – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Nov 26 '18 at 16:43
  • @CKM in small companies, roles are often pretty flexible to begin with. You might need to get your own manager on board with the idea, but you can honestly say that you want to try taking on greater responsibilities, and that you think that you're a fit for task type X, and you want to help out. It's a very natural progression. – Ben Barden Nov 26 '18 at 18:04

I think your best strategy here is to gain as much knowledge from your manager as you can before they leave. Try to grab lunch or coffee or just some closed-door office time with the manager and be honest. Say that since you know they are intending to leave soon, you would be interested in learning more about the manager role so that you can potentially fill the gaps once they leave. Ask about their responsibilities, and tricks or advice they can offer, etc. If they are up for it and have the time, they may even consider getting you to help with some of their tasks on the job.

Now, when the time comes for the manager to leave, you can tell the CEO that you have already started training for some of the job responsibilities and know what the manager's role requires. If the outgoing manager is willing, they might even recommend you at least as a temporary replacement for them.

Getting the inside knowledge will give you a head start in learning the necessary skills and show to the CEO that you are deserving of the promotion.

Even if the CEO doesn't want to hand over the full manager role to you, they might instead decide split up the manager's responsibilities among the other employees. Since you've already started, you might have your pick of which responsibilities to take on, and can use that to negotiate a raise.

  • Again this seems tertiary at best, guys. For example, you might say "Quick, gain another qualification!!" Fair enough. Or, "Quickly, improve you knowledge of programming language X!" Also fair enough. But these are tertiary considerations. The question at hand is - essentially and simply - "How do I ask for a raise?" {In the particular situation " ... a key member is cutting out".} – Fattie Nov 26 '18 at 16:16
  • 1
    @Fattie It seems to me that the goal is not just to get a raise, but more responsibility and a promotion. Managers are not picked based on IT qualifications of knowledge of programming languages (not in sane companies, anyway). The idea here is to talk to the manager about replacing the manager after the manager leaves, in order to be the logical successor. – David Thornley Nov 26 '18 at 21:50

"Now obviously there are no positions on the table because officially they haven't been vacated. What strategies exist to improves one's own position in a company on this knowledge?"

  1. Walk up to the owner

  2. Use this language:

"Hi boss. As you surely know Jack is about to cut and run. As you know you currently pay me $X,000, with thanks. I'll be needing $( X * 1.7 ),000 going forward, initially. I'd feel more comfortable if the new salary was retrospective from the 1st of last month. Can you tell me how you feel about that?

That's about it.

  • 4
    but the CEO doesn't know and will probably be blind-sided your language doesn't really address this – Sharlike Nov 26 '18 at 16:15
  • The CEO doesn't know - B.S. If, incredibly, astoundingly, the CEO doesn't know (so, the CEO is a kind of waif-like being), then just SPEAK UP. Just walk in to the office tomorrow and say to Owner and Jack, "Jack will be gone in a few weeks, let's try to work out how to proceed". Open the topic and sort it out. "It's not high-school", you just speak up and live in reality, you know?! – Fattie Nov 26 '18 at 16:19
  • 3
    If the manager changes their mind, the OP will look pretty bad. One should never make assumptions about another's employment status, especially to the CEO. – mcknz Nov 26 '18 at 16:31

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