How to make sure you’re promoting the right people

Are you promoting employees based on the right criteria?

How to make sure you’re promoting the right people

Promoting the right folks in your tech team isn't about giving out titles; it's a powerful way to fuel your organisation's success. 

Promoting the right people within an organisation can make or break a company. While it isn’t rocket science, it does need a good strategy behind it. Ensuring that only well-deserving individuals are promoted has a profound impact not just on their immediate teams but on the broader organisation. This fosters a culture of meritocracy, where talent, dedication, and competence are rewarded. This, in turn, leads to heightened employee morale, increased engagement, and enhanced loyalty. 

Promoting the right people ensures that leadership positions are filled with those who can drive innovation, foster collaboration, and make sound decisions, contributing to the organisation's sustained growth and prosperity.

What are the wrong reasons to promote people? 

The most common reasons to promote employees are often not the best ones. Have you used the following criteria when making promotion decisions? 

  • Tenure: Have the individuals been at the company the longest?
  • Attrition risk: Are they an individual threatening to leave if not promoted? 
  • Urgent gaps in team: Are you basing a leadership promotion on immediate need and personnel availability?

Too often, people are promoted for the wrong reasons. Individuals who are candidates for promotion are commonly high performers in their current role. This is used as evidence that they are ready for the next level. But this is not always the best solution. Not every individual is interested in or adequately trained for leadership positions. Often, subject matter experts and highly technical individuals want to focus on honing their craft rather than shifting their mindset to people management. 

Read our blog post on Staff Engineering, which explores other opportunities for promoting talented individual contributors who are not interested in or suited to a people management track.

How do you make sure you promote the right people? 

Take a data-driven approach to identify and promote the right people for future roles.

Manager in blue top having a discussion with her team member

Why take a data-driven approach through skills assessments?

By implementing role-specific skills assessments, you can make decisions objectively based on employees’ skills.

Relying on evidence and data is a transparent and effective approach to promoting employees. Cynicism exists in workplaces where promotions are popularity contests or where people can ‘wait their turn’ to get moved up if they have been there long enough.

Objectively assessing employees’ skills and their promotion suitability reduces the over-reliance on the length of service or past performance as a determinant of future success. It also helps to recognise the hidden potential of employees who may have been overshadowed by those with social influence and visibility.

Skills assessments help employers make informed succession decisions by benchmarking their employees on job-specific skill sets. Assessing the skill proficiency of employees also helps identify team skill gaps which can further inform your hiring and L&D strategy.

But how do you undertake a skills assessment? 

It requires a considered career growth framework.

How do you leverage career growth frameworks?

Career growth frameworks provide a structured approach to evaluating an individual's readiness for promotion based on a holistic assessment of their skills and capabilities.

Here's why they are so powerful in promoting the right individuals:

Kaleida infographic on why career growth frameworks are essential for promoting the right people. Identify candidates who excel. Drive organisational goals. Foster trust among employees. Ensure merit is rewarded. Provide development pathways. Mitigate turnover. Build diverse leadership pipelines.

Identify candidates who can excel

Quality frameworks objectively evaluate an individual’s skills, including technical expertise, leadership abilities, communication, and other core skills that strengthen teams. This enables organisations to identify well-rounded candidates who can excel in their new roles.

Ensure merit is rewarded

Career growth frameworks rely on objective criteria and assessments, minimising bias and favouritism in the promotion process. This ensures that promotions are based on merit rather than subjective judgments.

Drive organisational goals

Well-implemented career growth frameworks align with the strategic goals and values of the organisation. This means that individuals who are promoted are not only skilled but also aligned with the company's mission and vision.

Provide development pathways

A good framework includes the ability to build out development plans. These guide individuals on how to get the skills and experiences needed for promotion. This encourages continuous learning and professional growth.

Foster trust among employees

By following a standardised process, career growth frameworks provide consistency and transparency in promotion decisions. This fosters trust among employees, as they understand the criteria and expectations for advancement.

Mitigate Turnover

When employees see a clear path for career advancement, they are more likely to stay with the organisation. This reduces turnover and the associated costs of recruitment and onboarding.

Build diverse leadership pipeline

By assessing a wide range of skills and competencies, career growth frameworks promote diversity in leadership. This helps organisations build inclusive and innovative teams.

Why good promotion processes matter 

Manager having a one-on-one discussion in an open office setting with her employee.

The promotion of deserving individuals in your technical team surpasses the mere acknowledgment of technical proficiency. Good promotion processes foster innovation, teamwork, problem-solving, and the performance of the team. Considered promotion decisions that are based on career growth frameworks and skills assessments not only reward meritorious individuals but also establish the foundation for sustained success in the ever-evolving technological landscape.

Tech team manager and team member having a discussion.

If your organisation is ready to get started with tech-specific career growth frameworks that are proven to drive business outcomes, get in touch with the Kaleida team today.