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Staff Management Tips: Which Employees Should You Promote?

By Townes Haas   |    August 25, 2016   |    9:27 AM


Promoting employees from within can be a huge morale boost and motivator, but these positions should not just be given away. 

How can you determine when a staff member should be promoted?

Annual reviews can be a time of high stress for both managers and employees, especially if you’re working in an entrepreneurial company. However, it’s a very important process because it involves evaluating the performance of any given employee with the goal of promoting the talent in the company. Promoting a staff member to the next level has direct repercussions on the growth of your company as well as employee satisfaction. If not done correctly, it can create challenges to job satisfaction, office politics, low productivity and low rates of retention. Here are the ways you can help determine when an employee should be promoted.

1. The math works in their favor.

One of the best ways to spot the deserving candidate for promotion is to do a head-to-head comparison of their quantifiable contributions to the company. Numbers certainly aren’t the only factor to consider when assessing performance but it’s a useful place to start. When you find ways to quantify performance, it makes it easier to justify to yourself or your board of directors which employees have really gone above and beyond.

2. Nine-to-fivers need not apply.

Most employees are prepared to work hard to achieve their goals and move forward in their career. But the most dedicated employees are the ones who put the success of the company ahead of their personal situations. It’s a subtle difference but there’s a difference between those employees who only want to do what’s expected of them and those who are willing to jump in whenever and wherever they feel they are needed.  People who are willing to rise to the occasion, put your customers first, and shoulder the burden of more responsibility are likely to deserve your attention and praise.

3. They know where they want to be in the future.

Focused employees are not only thinking about the work they’re doing today, but where the company is heading and what it means to their own career progression. Promoting team members who are clear about their career goals helps you to find the future managers of your team. Leadership is an inherent character trait, not necessarily a skill that can be polished or taught. The employees that take charge in a crisis, support and nurture their co-workers, and clearly desire to be promoted can prove very useful and helpful to a growing small business.

4. Factors beyond the quantitative.

Numbers are certainly helpful but they don’t provide a complete picture of an employee’s true potential. There are certainly a few X factors that can help you to judge the right employees to promote. These include self-motivated employees who take initiative, present quality work, and garner positive feedback from your customers. Employees who are keen to further their knowledge and take advantage of opportunities to know more can also help you establish the right people to promote.

Deciding which employees to promote is really a joint effort. In terms of managing staff, it’s important for you to be present and aware as an entrepreneur just who’s doing what in your small business, so when it’s time to anoint new leaders, you can make great recommendations. As your company grows, you’ll have everyone on the same page to help build your success.