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Employee Promotion: What You Need to Consider

Employee Promotion: What You Need to Consider

February 23, 2024

Promoting your employees is a highly effective way to fill the skills gaps in your organisation without bringing in new talent. Rather than hiring for a new line manager, you could promote an internal team member and allow them to grow and develop new skills in their role.

Promotions help to foster employee loyalty and keep individuals engaged. Without this essential part of the employee life cycle, employees would have to look for opportunities elsewhere if they want to grow. From a business perspective, retaining existing talent is far better for operations than hiring new workers. Scheduling promotions and giving workers a roadmap for progression is also an excellent way to boost morale.

Here are some essential things you need to consider when lining up employees for promotion. 

Why are promotions essential?

Promoting internally is the best way to bridge skills gaps in your organisation. It also helps to keep employees motivated and engaged. Without the goal of a promotion, employees might become bored and disengaged, which can be much worse than an employee quitting. Disengaged employees can drag down an entire workforce and have a negative influence on the mood and morale. 

Employee Promotion: What You Need to Consider CMD Recruitment

Schedule regular assessments

There are several ways companies handle the issue of promotions. You might create a career development plan for each employee which outlines what skills they need to develop and how their role within the organisation will develop. This is an employee centric approach to promotions that might require you to create new roles to suit your employees. However, these roles don’t always meet the requirements of the company and can lead to awkward hierarchical structures. 

A company-centric approach is more responsive to the needs of the company. Roles are clearly defined and employees are encouraged to put themselves forward when new opportunities arise. This can create a sense of competition within the organisation and might also neglect the needs of some employees, particularly those who are less likely to speak up.

Employee Promotion: What You Need to Consider CMD Recruitment

Questions to ask before offering a promotion

How does their current performance and contributions stack up?

An engaged candidate will step up and show they are ready for more responsibility when there is an opportunity for promotion, but you should also look for the candidates that engage in these behaviours anyway, even if there isn’t an obvious promotion on the line.

Look at the employee’s contributions and attitude towards work in recent months and years to spot signs they are ready for more responsibility. 

Are their goals aligned with organisational objectives?

Sometimes, a candidate’s goals simply don’t align with your company’s growth plans. This could mean they want to develop their skills in areas that aren’t relevant to your company, or they are trying to move into an already crowded space.

Speak to the candidate to get an idea of how they see their career developing and what skills they would like to develop. You can then compare these to your operational plans and determine if there is any overlap. You can also explore if the candidate is flexible to learning new skills that are more in line with the direction you need them to head in.

Employee Promotion: What You Need to Consider CMD Recruitment

Do they exhibit strong leadership and management skills?

One of the most popular routes for promotion is into a management role. This will typically involve choosing one member of a team to manage their colleagues, so this needs to be approached with caution.

Leadership and management skills are not about being the “boss” or asserting control. It’s all about being able to identify a team’s best skills and give them the support and guidance they need to do their best work. Management skills can be taught, so if there isn’t a clear leader, consider which candidates have the most potential as a leader and nurture this spark.

What is their potential for growth and development?

A good manager is not only looking at a candidate’s current performance, they are also skilled at spotting their potential. Being able to identify potential in a candidate is an essential skill that can help to drive down recruitment costs by anticipating future needs. When assessing candidates during an initial interview, don’t just look at their current skills and experience, but also think about their potential. 

Employee Promotion: What You Need to Consider CMD Recruitment

What do previous performance reviews and feedback indicate?

Regular appraisals and performance reviews help to give you an accurate record of a candidate’s career progression. This can help you to spot patterns in a candidate’s performance and recurring issues that need to be addressed. 

For example, some candidates only step up and become engaged when they know there is a performance review around the corner. This tells you that they are motivated by feedback and would benefit from more engagement. Other candidates might be motivated by bonuses, which tells you they are incentivized by competition. Rather than making your candidates fit your appraisal system, try making your appraisal system work for your workforce. 

Have they engaged in training and skill enhancement?

Before offering a promotion, think about what the candidate has done to further their own development. Taking the initiative to enhance their skills and undergo training is a surefire sign that a candidate is willing and able to grow with your organisation. 

They are self-motivated and able to recognise when there is room for improvement. These candidates are worth nurturing, as they will remain loyal to their role as long as they are supported and their achievements are recognised.

Employee Promotion: What You Need to Consider CMD Recruitment

How might their promotion impact employee morale and engagement?

Before offering a promotion to one of your employees, you need to think about how it will impact the wider team. Employee dynamics can change dramatically if one employee is singled out for a promotion.

If multiple employees have expressed their interest in a promotion, you might need to handle the situation delicately to avoid a difficult situation from developing. Give the unsuccessful candidates constructive feedback about why they weren’t selected and then provide them with a roadmap that will help them to understand how they can secure a promotion in the future. 

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