best practices employee promotions

What is one best practice for employee promotions?

To help you discover the best practices when promoting employees, we asked HR managers and business owners this question for their best insights. From announcing the promotion for the employee to celebrating as a team, there are several tips that may help you manage promotions in a way that is considerate and effective for all.

Here are 10 employee promotion best practices:

  • Announce the Promotion for the Employee
  • Clarify the Give and Get
  • Ensure Promotions Take Peer Rivalry into Consideration
  • Identify Who is Ready Through In-house Mentoring
  • Establish a Clear Process
  • Always Prioritize Internal Hiring
  • Use Performance Analytics During Promotions
  • Offer Equal Opportunities
  • Gain Insights from Those Experienced in the Position
  • Celebrate as a Team

employee promotion best practices

Announce the Promotion for the Employee 

It is best practice for an employer to announce promotions rather than leaving it up to the employee to inform coworkers about their new title and role. For instance, by making an announcement in an all-hands meeting, internal email, or Slack channel.

This acknowledgment serves as employee recognition and gives the promoted well-deserved praise in front of peers. The gesture also demonstrates to the workforce at large that there is room for growth within the company, gives employees motivation to work towards promotions of their own, and benefits the entire company culture at no additional cost.

Tasia Duske, Museum Hack

Clarify the Give and Get

Sometimes employees chase promotions with their eyes closed. They grasp the next rung on the ladder simply because it’s next. To help ensure they succeed, be clear about what is offered to and expected from them in the new role. The “give” is easy. Leaders are often excited to share the new title and salary, but employees must truly understand the demands of the new role. This is especially important in level-based promotions such as moving from a software engineer to a senior software engineer. Perhaps the “senior” level commands greater volume, speed, or quality. Maybe the pace is the same, but project complexity increases.  Whatever the “it” is be sure to ask for it.

Tim Toterhi, Plotline Leadership

Ensure Promotions Take Peer Rivalry into Consideration

Often, it’s the person who didn’t get the promotion who feels they are now left out of the running, perhaps on a permanent basis. If your team or business unit is considering internal candidates for promotion, take the time to speak carefully with the unsuccessful candidates. These employees can often benefit from additional career planning and development resources, as well as conversations about how to gain access to next-level roles or even a lateral move at the company. These conversations can be crucial to retaining solid talent.

Laura Smith-Proulx, An Expert Resume

Identify Who is Ready Through In-house Mentoring 

It’s our responsibility to help team members improve their performance. By leveraging the strengths of our seasoned employees, we provide mentoring and coaching to newer hires. So, while these recruits learn about the practicalities of working in their chosen field, our team members gain the leadership skills they need to advance in their careers as they guide, train, and encourage interns in the workplace. And the supervisory roles employees adopt also help us see who is ready to take on greater responsibilities and pinpoint candidates for our succession planning strategy.

Furthermore, by promoting a mentorship program that fosters your employees’ career advancement, your business will be seen as a Best Place to Work.

Shaunak Amin, SnackMagic

Establish a Clear Process

One best practice for employee promotions is to establish a clear promotion process. This allows employees to understand the criteria that will be used to determine who is promoted and how they can work towards becoming eligible for a promotion. An effective promotion process should be tailored to the company’s needs. It should consider the skills and experience that are required for the next level of responsibility, and identify the employees who have the potential to fill those roles.

Marc De Diego Ferrer, MCA Assessors

Always Prioritize Internal Hiring

Career advancement is a crucial part of employee retention and satisfaction, making internal hiring for open positions more advantageous than external hiring. One best practice for the promotion process is to always send out correspondence about open positions within the company. Many employees are consistently self-improving, bolstering their experience, education, and technical skills beyond the purview of their current position. Giving all employees an opportunity to apply for jobs within the company that they feel they are qualified for exemplifies a corporate culture of equality and loyalty. If there are no openings available, one must exercise an employee engagement strategy to keep employees dedicated even if there’s a slight delay in career satisfaction; for example, while a job title might not change, try giving that employee increased responsibilities and a modest raise.

Jaymee Messler, The Gaming Society

Use Performance Analytics During Promotions

Promotions should always be based on merits. This means that employees are promoted based on their abilities and the value they add to the company. Organizations can prepare employees for promotion by providing them with the training and development opportunities they need to grow their skills. This allows employees to build a track record of success, which can then be used to justify a promotion. By recognizing and promoting employees based on their ability, organizations communicate the message that effort and dedication are valued.

Peter Lucas, Relocate to Andorra

Offer Equal Opportunities

Offering an equal opportunity to every employee plays an integral role in the process associated with employee promotions. Even when an organization has embraced diversity hiring, it is essential to make an effort and adhere to these values regarding employee promotions too. In addition to creating a workplace that genuinely practices democracy, this move also helps the organization access a broader range of employees who may not be a part of the majority but possess the skills and ideas required to grow within the organization and take on additional responsibilities.

Eva Taylor, WP Buffs

Gain Insights from Those Experienced in the Position

Find out if the person vacating the position has an opinion of who on their team is qualified to step into their shoes. It’s important to remember that while your departing team member holds a clear understanding of what the position requires, they also have valuable insights into the skills and talents of their coworkers. This inside knowledge can prove helpful in identifying those employees who are ready to take that next step on their career path.

Chris Gadek, AdQuick

Celebrate as a Team

Celebrating promotions is an often-overlooked best practice. Securing a new role is an accomplishment deserving of a little fanfare. Celebrations can take the form of a team lunch, cake in the break room, a card, a virtual party, or an acknowledgment during a meeting, for instance. Hard-working team members deserve time to appreciate their wins, and acknowledging those wins as a group can bring the team closer. Also, taking the time to relish those wins justifies the hard work and gives the team at large motivation to strive for better.

Carly Hill, Virtual Holiday Party

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