A Key Employee Retention & Turnover Strategy

How to Secure Success for the Newly Promoted

Given the documented high failure rates for new managers and newly promoted executives, you need a solid on-boarding plan to combat employee turnover. A solid retention strategy demands that you invest in the newly promoted. Don’t leave them to rely only on trial and error. As you apply this twelve-step program for the newly promoted, you’ll gain immediate and long-term success for your next level leaders as well as establish employee retention strategies that will help you secure future top talent.

The Three Stage Promotion Model: Before, During and After

This three-stage promotion model is a key employee retention strategy because it demonstrates to managers at all levels that you are willing to make an investment in their success. In addition, it ensures that the newly promoted receives support through every phase of the promotion process. Throughout this 12-step process, management and Human Resources need to guide the promoted employee through a number of critical steps. This process is crucial to maintaining a sound employee retention strategy and ultimately sets up the employee to succeed.

Three Stage Promotion Graphic

Stage 1 – Before promotion

  1. Target interested employees Begin the development process long before the promotion happens. Once an employee expresses interest in getting promoted or shows the talent and skill required at the next level, the manager can start the preparation process. Guide, teach and expose them to experiences that can prepare them for the next step forward. Early attention helps to prepare and support them.
  2. Create a detailed promotion plan What will be required at the next level? What does the employee need to learn and demonstrate? Create a project plan aimed at closing the gap on these questions. Focus on what is lacking in expertise, skills and knowledge. The promotion plan includes necessary steps, adequate resources, and accountability for completion as well as potential problems that need to be addressed.
  3. Enlist advocates Recruit advocates who are willing to campaign on the employee’s behalf, champion their cause, and help improve others’ perceptions. This strategy can be extremely beneficial to someone who is not comfortable tooting his own horn. And it has a lot more impact than the employee could achieve on their own.

Stage 2 – During promotion

  1. Determine expectations What are the expectations and responsibilities for this new role? Discuss these issues with top management, the boss, and the boss’s boss to understand exactly what is required for success. Establishing mutual expectations builds trust. Turn these expectations into clear goals that outline the most important priorities.
  2. Ask for help Newly promoted employees are confident because they have already succeeded in their prior role. They may think they can do it all themselves and not ask for help. Instead, they need to recognize the dramatic shift from being on top of their game to being in a new unsettled position. Support is necessary. Ask for it.
  3. Find a mentor Before starting the new job, help the employee find a mentor who can assist in making a smooth transition. Look for a respected leader who can provide hands-on advice and extensive support.
  4. Enlist Human Resources Newly promoted employees shouldn’t wait for Human Resources to reach out. They should take the initiative and immediately contact them to find out how they can be a resource. Can they provide training, executive coaching, or answer questions regarding work place issues?
  5. Learn how to manage former peers Relationships with former peers will change drastically when someone is promoted. Supervising people they used to work with can be an awkward and difficult situation, especially when some of these peers didn’t get promoted, or thought they should have. The focus needs to be on gaining the respect of former peers so that these old relationships will turn into successful new ones.


Stage 3 – After promotion

  1. Secure early wins Once expectations are clear and goals are identified, initiate an early win strategy. Choose a short-term project or assignment that provides quick success. This establishes immediate credibility. The promoted employee creates the right perception among the people being led, peers and management.
  2. Ensure an actively supportive boss The higher up someone gets in an organization, the less support they receive. Everyone is busy with other priorities, projects and people. Ideally, a supportive boss would happen naturally. However, don’t wait for this to occur. Proactively engage the boss by asking for extra support and attention. Schedule weekly one-on-ones to discuss progress, revise expectations and evaluate how the new role is going.
  3. Build relationships Help the employee identify the peers, subordinates and supervisors who represent the new circle of influence for this position. Schedule time to meet with them one-on-one to discuss expectations, establish guidelines and best practices in order to create the most supportive and collaborative relationships possible. Network with key influential players and decision makers in the organization. Other productive meetings might include vendors, customers, and clients in order to gather ideas for process improvement. Meeting with different department heads to learn about their group, culture and how they function can also be important.
  4. Seek appropriate training The newly promoted rarely receive supportive training. Don’t let this happen. Either seek out the training internally or identify external programs the company would be willing to support. Trainings provide shared knowledge, learned best practices and networking. Interacting with people at trainings who are going through similar changes and challenges is helpful. Providing training for the newly promoted employee is one of the most important employee retention strategies since many newly promoted employees fail upon entering their new role due to the steep learning curve associated with their promotion. Management and human resources personnel need to provide support for newly promoted employees. This is the most cost-effective way to keep top talent and minimize the high costs of employee turnover. The retention strategy you put in place will benefit more than the newly promoted employee and will ultimately protect your bottom line.
Need help combating high employee turnover? Create a retention strategy that will secure your top talent. Contact Joel Garfinkle for personal coaching using his three stage promotion model today.