By Key Business Advisors
Human Resources

Written by Olga Shepherd

Promoting from within can provide numerous benefits to your business, however it is important the process is carried out carefully to ensure the transition is a successful one.

Staff members are often promoted as employers value the staff member’s continued positive performance and believe they would fit well in a higher level role with increased responsibilities. On occasion however, if the correct groundwork isn’t followed, this can lead to problems within the new role and even mean losing the high performing employee from your business.

Following are 6 steps employers should consider when promoting staff to best transition them into their new role whilst helping to assist with their personal development and minimise risk of the promotion not working out.

Step 1: Be clear from the start

When offering a promotion, consider the outcome if the employee is unable to perform to expectations in the new role. Clearly specify the probationary period of the new role and what could happen if the employee has not performed up to expectations at the end of the probationary period. Ensure the employee is clear and this is documented in writing, in the correct format.

Step 2: Set the expectations

It is important the employee knows what is expected of them in their new role and the level they are required to perform at. Clearly defined SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound) Key Performance Indicators are essential. It is recommended a mixture of financial and non-financial KPIs are used to cover all areas of the business the employee can contribute to. This will include behaviours such as maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction, following internal business processes, teamwork and personal growth objectives. All of these targets and expectations will be included in the form of a position description, outlining clearly the duties to be performed which assist in achieving the set KPIs.

Step 3: Review performance

Provide the employee with regular coaching and constructive on-the-job feedback. Performance should be reviewed in a more formal manner and may need to be done more periodically when first in the new role, perhaps on a monthly basis. This helps ensure the employee remains on track and is provided with the best possible opportunity to succeed. It is recommended feedback is gathered from other parties as well (other stakeholders and team members) and is delivered in a positive manner for the development of the employee.

Step 4: Reward high performance

If an employee is meeting or exceeding the expectations of the new role, the idea is to motivate and reinforce these desired behaviours. Rewards can include monetary incentives (cash, holidays, gifts, vouchers) and non-monetary incentives (recognition programs like Employee of the Month). Letting the employee know they are doing well will increase their motivation even further and assist the business in achieving greater results.

Step 5: Notify staff member of performance deficiency

If an employee isn’t meeting the expectations of the new role, an important preliminary step is informing the staff member and making it clear in which area or areas. It may be a difficult message to communicate however it is better to be honest and up front in telling them their performance is deficient than have them labour under the misapprehension their performance is satisfactory.

Step 6: Encourage the staff member

When the employee successfully completes the probationary period, having successfully met the expectations of the role, ensure to recognise their efforts and commitment towards their personal development to maintain their motivation.

In the unfortunate event the employee is not performing as per your expectations in the new role, you might not be able to terminate their employment, as continuous service still applies. If the employee has worked over 6 months (for employers with 15 or more employees) or over 12 months (for employers with less than 15 employees), they may still be eligible to claim unfair dismissal. You may have the option to revert the employee back to their original position, if this was made clear prior to them commencing in the new role.

For help and guidance with promoting staff and minimising your risk, contact Key Business Advisors’ expert HR team on 1300 4 ADVICE (03 9325 5900)

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