Blog, Human Resources

How to Promote the Right People

Big or small, a company is only as good as its employees. Knowing how to promote the right people is a crucial management skill. Good work should be rewarded by advancement on the company ladder, but it can often be difficult to decide who to promote when senior positions are limited or there’s a wealth of strong performers. Here are several key factors to focus on when looking for the right worker to elevate.

A Great Performer Isn’t Always a Great Manager

While it may be tempting to boost one of your top performers to a managerial role, this can often be negative for both the company and the employee. A management role requires a completely different set of skills. Managing individuals involves a certain set of social skills, an empathetic but pragmatic personality, and a variety of other traits that may or may not be present in the employee under consideration. If they’re thrust into the role unprepared, work can become unpleasant for both them and the people they’re charged with overseeing.

Cross-Functional Skills Matter

An employee with a strong understanding of several facets of the business can be a huge asset to a company. When given greater autonomy in a managerial role, that person should know how to communicate with different departments and understand how their work fits into the bigger picture of the company’s overall mission.

Take Note of Workers Who Ask for Feedback

Engaged employees maintain an interest in evolving their skillset. By proactively asking management for feedback on areas where they’re strong as well as areas where they can improve, they can focus their efforts in the right place and become better workers. It also demonstrates a level of commitment and interest that goes beyond clocking in from 9 to 5. These are individuals who are more likely to stick around long-term and will be more suitable for a senior position.

The best candidates for promotion are often ones that are pragmatic, personable, engaged, and knowledgeable about various facets of the company. When considering an employee for promotion, make sure that you look beyond their numbers and determine whether they have the knowledge and the right personality traits to thrive in whatever new position you give them.


– Lance Wang