Whether you want to move ahead in your career or you’ve identified a need in your company for a role it doesn’t currently have, you’ll need to persuade management to agree with you. Proposing a new position for the company to fill will require some sound arguments as well as social skill and political capital. Proposing one for yourself has a few additional challenges.
Determine precisely what the company’s need is for the role, in financial terms. If you’re proposing a new administrative assistant for the department, estimate how much money the company is spending on having more senior people devote their time to administrative tasks, and compare that against the salary and benefits of a full time admin. If you think a liaison is needed between the design arm and the manufacturing arm of the company, estimate how much money is lost due to poor communication between the two.
Write the job description of the position. Specify not only the tasks that would be done, but also what skills are needed and to whom that person will report, which also determines whose budget the new salary will come out of. Write it as if it’s a job posting.
If you’re proposing a new position for yourself, explain who will take over your current position and why that’s better for the company. Particularly if you’ve been in the role for long enough to get substantial raises, or have had additional training that qualify you for better roles, explain why it’ll be cheaper and better for them to hire a new junior person. It’s probably not a good idea to suggest that your position could be eliminated, even if that’s the case. They may take your advice.
Gather your allies. Before making a formal proposal, do some informal networking and persuading to get supporters on your side. The best allies you can have for this process are your boss and the manager to whom the new role will be reporting. Sound them out and ask for their feedback on how they would like such a role to work.
Write the formal proposal. It should be brief, at one to two pages, and should lay out your argument concisely and professionally. Highlight the financial figures you’ve discovered, and if they’ve given you permission to do so, include the fact that your boss and the new manager have agreed.
If you’re unable to get supporters for the idea in the informal stages, it’s unlikely that your proposal will move forward. Having your manager or the new role’s manager opposed to the idea is probably going to be an insurmountable obstacle. Since you will be spending some of your political capital – favors you can call in, influence you can exert – regardless of whether you win your case, make sure that your idea has a good chance of success before you start.