It’s always important for companies to look at staff members and reassess their value within a current position. If every member of staff held the same position for their entire time within a company, the team would become stagnant and employees would become less motivated to work to their full potential. With this in mind, it’s necessary for business owners and managers to consider playing workplace snakes and ladders every couple of years.
Over the course of three articles, I will be discussing the advantages in assessing employee standing, as well as important information to include in all relevant policies.
Offering a promotion to an employee often provides the incentive to be ambitious and loyalty to the company, as well as motivates staff members and minimises discontentment. The purpose of promotion is to recognise employee performance and commitment, retain skilled and talented employees and develop a competitive spirit amongst workers. Sometimes promotion can be a simple shift in staff, especially if a role becomes vacant due to retirement or resignation.
Before a manager offers an employee a promotion, it is imperative to plan ahead and consider why the staff member should receive the promotion above others. More often than not, an employee’s loyalty and moral can take a dip if a co-worker is promoted above them. Employers can avoid such problems by creating a promotion policy and process, and applying its principles to every employee seeking promotion.
The Promotion Policy
An effective and clear cut policy should concentrate on promoting staff members through skills and performance instead of favouritism. If an employee is promoted to a position that they aren’t ready for, this can be detrimental to the business and team members and a company may face lawsuits if other members of staff feel they have been unfairly discriminated against. Where possible, promotions within a company should be encouraged above outsiders filling any vacancies.
The policy should include the following:
- As mentioned above, ability alongside seniority should be focused on. Employees should be made aware that capability for the role, efficiency, previous job performance and experience, proven leadership skills, length of time in the company, and general all over attitude will be taken into account.
- If an employee must be with the company for a certain length of time before being offered or applying for a promotion, the length of time should be noted.
- An organisation chart should clarify the ranking of roles and opportunity for promotion in the company. Each role should be analysed and an idea of salary for each position should make it easy to design up such a chart.
- The system and stages of the promotion process should be made clear to all employees. Department heads are likely to initiate and make their team aware of promotions available, however personnel must carry out background checks and consider potential repercussions before final approval is signed off by top management in the company.
- It must be noted that promotions, like other roles, are for a trial period and that the promoted employee can be demoted if it is not believed they are fulfilling their role. During the trial period, the staff member will receive the rate of pay of the higher role, however if they do not hit agreed targets, they will be returned to their former post and pay.
Steps to Take
A number of steps must be adhered to before a manager decides for definite if an employee should be promoted.
Firstly, all business owners have to plan for succession through strategies which ascertain how a role will be filled, the process for promotion and qualities needed for filling the said position. If a role requires training or offers staff development, then this should also be noted.
Appraisals are the next most important step in promotion. Appraisals should track an employee’s career development, attributes and flaws and general characteristics throughout their time in the company. Looking over previous assessments will help in deciding if the employee has grown professionally during their time in the company and if it is the right stage for them to be promoted.
As mentioned above, some employees will feel the sting of not being promoted and therefore it is important to know why an employee has been promoted over another. All reasons should be noted and a meeting should be set with the passed-over employee before the outcome is announced. In the meeting a manager should be open and direct with the member of staff and list the capabilities needed to meet the requirements of the role. Any areas where the employee struggles should be discussed and if available, staff training for further role openings should be offered.
Office politics play a huge part in job promotions and can often lead to divisions within a group, therefore once the employee who has secured the promotion has been announced; managers should encourage team building exercises. Holding a team meeting to explain the promotions policy, how and why the decision was made and further plans for the company will show that there are opportunities for all to progress.
Next week I will be discussing policies and strategies for demotion in the workplace.
The contents of this article are necessarily expressed in broad terms and limited to general information rather than detailed analyses or legal advice. Specialist professional advice should always be obtained to address legal and other issues arising in specific contexts.