Negotiating

Lateral promotions to go higher

Taking the place of your supervisor is not the only way to move up in the hierarchy. Nowadays, careers also evolve horizontally without this being synonymous with stagnation.

Changing job, department or branch without taking a step up can paradoxically help our career to progress. Until recently, Sylvie Chagnon was Vice-President, Credit and Financial Products at Investissement Québec. This title represents the culmination of an unusual career path: positions in commercial financing, internal audit, financial planning and branch network management. Would it have been so successful if it had opted for a more vertical career path? “No, I don’t think I would have had the career I had without my zigzag career path,” says the woman who worked for the CIBC and National Bank before joining Investissement Québec in 2007.

A plus for the CV
This career path, marked by several lateral movements, has enabled him to acquire a comprehensive knowledge of how a bank operates and a cross-functional view of the financial sector. This varied experience made me an interesting candidate,” she says. Having multi-functional employees is an asset for an organization. »

Geneviève Forget, whose company favours decompartmentalization in order to have a mobile and versatile workforce, agrees. “Lateral promotions make it possible to develop more knowledge, and therefore to be one step ahead of others if you want to move up the hierarchy,” she says.

Making progress despite everything
Many companies have flattened their structure and removed rungs. In this context, lateral promotions are a way of continuing to move up in a company when certain access routes are blocked.

I was in a department where the four senior positions were occupied by people too young to retire soon,” says Geneviève Forget. A position at the same level opened up in a department with the highest turnover rate. “A year later, she was able to get a higher position!

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Good for networking
The other big advantage of lateral promotions is that it broadens your network of contacts. Having a good network is an invaluable asset in advancing your career. Every time you go to a new place, you build a new network,” says Sylvie Chagnon. The more you’re seen in different places, the better! »

Geneviève Forget also notes the benefits of getting to know new people by changing departments. Working with another gang is positive if you want to make a career in the company, because your contacts follow you afterwards,” she says. For example, it’s easier to know where to go if you need help later on. »

A network that you have to take the time to keep alive, once you’ve changed jobs, otherwise these relationships will wither away over time. Every day, I took advantage of lunch to maintain my network,” recalls Sylvie Chagnon. And I was very present in the business community. “It was an excellent way to keep up to date on the development prospects in your sector and thus give your career a boost!

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