Employee having a conversation with his boss.

Although you may not have heard of it, today is actually a holiday called ‘Boss/Employee Exchange Day’. The idea behind this day is that a boss and their employee swap roles to see what it is like to work in the other’s shoes. Ideally this will give both parties a better idea of their responsibilities and what a day looks like. The goal is to reach a better understanding of the other’s respective roles, and how they can work together. Obviously doing this swap isn’t feasible at most companies, so we’ve come up with an alternative. Instead of swapping, ask your boss if you can have a discussion about your role to make sure you are being fully utilized. We’ve broken down some topics to cover during this conversation below.

1. Expectations

First and foremost in the discussion should be expectations, from both sides. For an employee/boss relationship to work, both parties need to know what is expected of them. Consider bringing in your job description, along with any other specific expectations you have. Talk about how you’ve been doing on your daily tasks. What areas are great, and which could use some improvement?

This is also a great opportunity to set some long term goals, and revisit them later down the road. Give yourself some quantifiable goals to motivate your work, and then check in later. For instance, in sales, your goal could be 20 outbound calls per day. You can also work to understand your boss’ preferences. For example, ask what types of things your boss would prefer to discuss in person vs. email. Understanding these little expectations will enable you to work more efficiently and strengthen your working relationship. You can also tell them how you prefer to communicate, or how you can work better together.

2. The Future

Whether you’re a new employee or not, it’s always good to discuss your future. Have an open discussion with your boss about where they see you going, versus where you’d like to be in the future. Having a thorough understanding of your timeline makes your supervisor aware you are thinking of the future, and encourages them to do the same. Are there any areas in your job you think you can excel in but haven’t been give the chance? Your professional growth will benefit not just you, but also the company you work for. So when you bring up something you want to explore, discuss how it would not only make you more valuable, but also benefit the company.

3. Ideas & Thoughts

While you may simply have been following the tasks and responsibilities in your job description, you’ve probably dreamed of more. Most employees have ideas for new projects that would be greatly beneficial, but they never bring them up. A meeting like this is the perfect opportunity to do so. Worst case scenario, your boss doesn’t think it would be worthwhile to pursue. Either way, it shows that you are doing extra to try to contribute to the company.

Lastly, if there are any other things you’d like to bring up, this meeting is typically the best setting. Having already discussed multiple other topics, the conversation should flow fairly easily, so it’s a prime time to talk about any other work related matters.  However, if you want to ask for a raise, the best time to do that is when you are following up on the goals you set from this meeting.

While you may not have been able to actually change roles with your boss for the day, you should be able to find time to chat. You may be shocked to see just how much an impact one conversation can have! Sitting down for a conversation is something that doesn’t happen often enough, so it has to be prioritized sometime. Today is a great opportunity to do so!