Promote or Not Promote? Which is Right for Your Business?

Businesses are promoting their employees at a higher rate than they were ten years ago—and for good reason. Not only does promoting from within save your company time and money on recruitment, it also does wonders for employee retention. In fact, a recent Gallup report found that the number one reason an employee leaves a company is lack of career development.

Thanks to Hawaii’s historically low unemployment rate, taking steps to retain your workers and avoid navigating the state’s difficult hiring market is a smart strategy that employers need to consider.

Although promoting from within can be beneficial for both your employees and business, understanding when to do so can be tricky. Promote too soon, and the worker may stumble on the new workload and cause your company to struggle. On the other hand, wait too long to promote an employee, and they may  start looking for other opportunities.

So how do you know when a promotion is the right move?

3 Questions to Ask Before Promoting an Employee

Take a look at the below questions to help you evaluate whether or not the timing is right.

1. Is there a business need for the promotion?

The first step of considering a promotion is to look at the needs of your business. Is there currently an open position that you’re looking to fill, or will you have to create a new role? If promoting the employee means creating a new role, take the time to clearly define the scope of responsibilities as well as how the new position will add value to your company.

2. Is the employee a good fit for the promotion?

Just because an employee is meeting expectations doesn’t mean he or she is ready for a promotion. Conduct regular check-ins with your employees and provide feedback on their performance. Doing so will make it easier for you to identify whether or not an employee is ready for a promotion. As you evaluate an employee’s candidacy for a promotion, take the following factors into account:

  1. Skills—What skills are necessary for this new role? Does the employee demonstrate these skills in his/her current position? What experience has the employee gained in his/her current position that will benefit this new role?
  2. Effectiveness in current position—Does the employee consistently perform at a high level? Are there visible results to measure the employee’s performance? How well does the employee adhere to company policy and rules?
  3. Potential for growth—Does the employee actively look for opportunities to learn? What is the employee’s ability to overcome challenges and take on new tasks? How does the individual deal with change or difficult situations?

3. Will the promotion leave workload gaps?

Moving an employee into a new role or tacking on more responsibility often means that the employee will give up some of their old responsibilities. Take time to consider who will pick up the slack on those tasks. That could mean spreading tasks to other team members or utilizing the services of a staffing company to hire a new replacement. Do your best to ensure that the promotion is a seamless experience for all your employees and doesn’t cause unnecessary stress for your workers.

Promoting from within won’t be the right decision for every employee or open position. But, done thoughtfully, it can be a smart strategy for growing your workforce and maximizing the skills and knowledge of your existing talent pool.

It’s important to always communicate potential promotion opportunities with employees as it allows you to gauge their openness and willingness to a new role. If nothing else, it acknowledges the employee’s value and worth to the company which is crucial for engagement.