Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

6th Jun, 2024

Victoria Sartain
Victoria Sartain
Job Title
Senior Content Writer

How does your business decide who to promote? Is career progression embedded within the workplace culture or is it done in line with employee tenure?

The process of promotion should consider merit, potential, and alignment with organisational values. Meritocracy should be the cornerstone of any promotion strategy, rooted in a comprehensive evaluation of an individual's performance, skills, and contributions to the business. Tangible achievements such as key performance indicators, project outcomes, and leadership abilities, should guide this assessment.

However, merit alone does not paint the full picture. It’s important to identify individuals with the capacity to grow, adapt, and innovate and those who demonstrate a hunger for learning, a willingness to take on new challenges, and a track record of exceeding expectations. Investing in the development of high-potential individuals is key to futureproofing your business.

Promote those who show enthusiasm and excellence

Promoting individuals who embody the core values and culture of your business reinforces a sense of purpose and belonging among employees. Beyond technical skills and performance metrics, assess candidates' alignment with your company's mission, vision, and ethics. It’s usually easy to spot those who both excel in their roles and show enthusiasm for the ethos of the business – these professionals are more likely to drive positive change and inspire their colleagues.

There have been many conversations about extroverts and introverts in the workplace and the traits typical of both – some of which can sway employers to promote one group over another. Personality testing at hiring stage or as part of professional development, can help identify individuals with the potential to go further within the business, but they can also lead to bias, so should be balanced with traditional interviews and employee performance.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) should also be central considerations when promoting. Ensure opportunities are accessible to individuals from all backgrounds, regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, or socio-economic status. Actively seek out diverse talent, create inclusive promotion criteria, and address systemic barriers that may impede the advancement of underrepresented groups.

Jobseekers actively look for employers that can evidence their commitment to D&I, so it pays to promote this on all channels, including in your job adverts. Lip service is not enough – professionals will not stay long in an environment they perceive as old-fashioned and out of touch. Embracing diversity strengthens your talent pool and builds on your reputation as a progressive and inclusive employer.

Employees should have a clear understanding of the criteria, process, and timeline for promotion. Provide regular feedback on their performance and development areas, empowering them to actively pursue growth opportunities. Also establish mechanisms for staff to raise concerns or grievances related to the promotion process.

Deciding who to promote

Look for those who demonstrate both competence and potential for leadership and growth. Here are some key attributes to consider:

Job performance

Consistent achievement of goals and targets - high-quality work output, ability to meet deadlines and manage workload effectively.

Leadership skills

Demonstrated ability to motivate and inspire others - effective communication skills, both verbal and written, capacity to delegate tasks and empower team members.

Problem-solving abilities

Aptitude for critical thinking and analytical reasoning - proven track record of resolving complex issues, willingness to take initiative and propose innovative solutions.


Ability to thrive in changing environments - flexibility to adjust strategies and tactics as needed, openness to feedback and willingness to learn new skills.

Emotional intelligence

Empathy towards colleagues and clients - skill in managing interpersonal relationships, self-awareness and ability to regulate emotions.

Strategic thinking

Understanding of the broader organisational goals and objectives - capacity to develop long-term plans and strategies, skill in prioritising tasks and allocating resources effectively.

Team collaboration

Track record of working well within a team - ability to foster a positive and inclusive work environment, willingness to support colleagues and share knowledge.

Continuous learning

Commitment to personal and professional development - eagerness to seek out new challenges and opportunities for growth, willingness to invest time and effort in acquiring new skills.

Ethical conduct

Integrity in decision-making and actions - respect for company values and ethical standards, accountability for own behaviour and its impact on others.

Industry knowledge

Understanding of the sector in which the business operates - awareness of industry trends and developments, ability to apply industry knowledge to drive business success.

Final thoughts

Promotion creates opportunities for leaders to strengthen their business and should therefore be seen as an investment. No one should ever feel pressured to take on the greater responsibility that comes with promotion, but providing avenues for those who want the challenge is a win-win situation.

If you are looking for new talent for your teams, or considering your next career move, get in touch with one of our specialist consultants today.