Executive Coaching Articles

Employee Retention & Promotion

Employees want to feel recognized, valued, and engaged. One way to insure you keep valuable employees is to promote them.

In a large company, there may be many places where employees can move up. In smaller companies it may take some planning to reward your employees with a promotion. Here are five steps to help you retain your choice workers by promoting them.

  1. Assess. Who do you have working for you that’s doing a particularly good job? Who are your most vital employees? Take some time to assess their needs, goals and limitations.

Regular feedback will help you discern which employees might be considering leaving. Why would they move on? It could be things outside your control—like health or family. Or it might be factors you can influence—work environment, pay, work hours, or boring work. In addition, a strong and well publicized succession plan will help you avoid employee dissatisfaction and costly turnover.

  1. Evaluate. When you understand their concerns, you are in a better position to create the right environment that will encourage them to stay. Promotions are just one option.

A promotion will likely give them better pay. It will change the nature of their work. If that is their source of irritation, this is a great solution.

On the other hand, suppose they need to work fewer hours and you know the management position you’d offer will require more hours. Then it’s best to look at alternative ways to retain your employee. Perhaps a lateral shift or a repositioning of work load would make more sense.

  1. Prepare. Once you’ve determined an employee would benefit from a promotion and it would be a good fit, you need to prepare the worker for the promotion. There are many strategies to consider, and executive job coaching may be a good place to start for your most talented prospects.

There may be a gap in skills that needs to be corrected to insure success after the promotion. Large gaps may call for training or structured courses. But the change in climate and position always entails some growth. Consider calling in mentors or executive coaches to groom your prospect for the advancement.

Sometimes it may not be possible or advisable to promote immediately. However, you may increase employee retention just by the promise of a promotion. When a worker knows that the advancement is in the works, it gives them the same feelings of being valued and recognized as the actual promotion itself.

Make sure there is a measurable timeline for the promotion. Don’t just dangle it in the “sometime” or you’ll risk disillusioning your employee and increase their chances of moving out on you.

  1. Promote. Consider intangibles as you promote your worker. In addition to a pay increase, what can you do to help them feel you respect them? Can you make a ceremony? Praise them in front of their new employees? Add some perks?

While you can link employee retention and promotions, the advancement must meet the needs and goals of the employee to be successful. Make sure you use feedback and your assessment to match the promotion and its benefits with what resonates with your worker.

  1. Support. There is an inherent risk in promotions that you will defeat your purpose. Many new promotions fail. They don’t grasp the changes in skill sets. They may not understand management as much as they need to. The tension and stress of the new promotion may lead to poor performance and ultimately exiting the company.

You’ve worked too hard to lose your key employee now. Follow up after the promotion with regular support. Assess again to see areas of weakness and step in to provide training and mentoring to shore up that skill.

As you seek to retain your quality employees, promoting them is one of many courses of action. When you follow this step-by-step plan, you and your employee, are more likely to feel successful about the results.