A few weeks ago my boss made a suggestion for the company website aimed to increase search engine placement for some new keywords. The website is solely within my remit, so I took care of his request.

During some downtime I came back to the task, taking a few hours to make some big improvements to the site to better rank for what he asked for.

This morning my boss sent me an email - we're now ranking higher than we ever have before for our chosen market, and he's absolutely thrilled about it. However, he's unaware of the extra work I did and thinks it's all down to "one small change".

I feel like I should be recognised for my effort since it's produced such a positive result, and I think it's also important that he knows how much work goes into the task so that he doesn't think that it's a five minute job next time around.

What's the best way to approach this? How can I let my boss know how much work went into a task without coming across as smarmy, or trying to correct him?


Document it: write up a report on the (paraphrased, so it's not a code review, but described in enough detail to show how much work they were) changes and your observations for his "management information".

Then ask for 20 minutes to sit down and run through it, as you think it's worth discussing to make sure that a good strategy is put into place for the future, and to ensure that the focus has been placed on the areas that are best for the company. It's no good being #1 for when nobody knows who you are, so let's talk about how much better placed we are for . Perhaps even talk (in high level terms) about how these can better translate to revenue.

You're a very helpful employee ensuring your boss is up to speed on the changes, and getting his input from a business perspective. AND you're documenting the changes for anyone who has to maintain it later, excellent: the fact that it highlights your extra work to your boss is a pleasant side effect.

  • Be carefull though! Your boss probally thinks these increases in result are due to his suggestions. You're about to confront him that it wasn't just him, ego's can be tricky. – Martijn Mar 2 '15 at 12:38
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    Tricky, but not impossible. 'Hi boss, here's how I implemented that great idea you had' - tact goes a long way, and you can tell him about a few extra things you came up with along the way – Jon Story Mar 2 '15 at 12:40
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    It's important to indicate you elaborated on what the boss suggested and spent more time on it. – user8365 Mar 2 '15 at 14:40
  • Love the "here's how I implemented your great idea" part in the comments. The extra initiative should go a long way to smooth over the egos. – Brian Mar 2 '15 at 14:44
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    Thanks for the excellent answer - this is how I ended up approaching it. Fortunately, it turned out that the manager in question was going to pass responsibility for the website to another manager, meaning I had the perfect reason to send them a report on the updates to ensure that nothing was lost in the transition! – BiscuitBaker Mar 2 '15 at 20:06

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