4 Employee Development Ideas to Help Promote From Within - HighGround

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4 Employee Development Ideas to Help Promote From Within

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According to research from Bersin by Deloitte, it costs about $4,000 to fill an open position in corporate America. Considering the cost of advertising vacancies, interviewing applicants, and training new hires, there is no question that promoting from within carries a clear advantage.

Promoting current employees also leads to better performance. A 2012 study found that external hires were 61 percent more likely to be fired than internal promotions — likely due to the latter’s deeper knowledge of operations and loyalty to the company. But beyond cost and efficiency, internal promotions also increase morale and help build a company culture in which employees feel valued and as a result, more engaged.

You have the right people. Here are four tips for pushing them into the right place so they’re ready for promotion at the next opportunity.

Goal Setting and Performance Development

Every manager’s dream is to hire the right person for the job and set them free to do it. While it’s true that you can select decisive, independent new hires, it’s unlikely that most of your employees will be prepared to move up the ladder without a heavier hand in their growth. A focus on performance development and facilitating of your team members’ growth for the next step will help make internal promotions more possible. You can use your performance management or employee engagement software to set and track goals without micromanaging. While managers should guide employee goal-setting, the process shouldn’t be a directive. Managers can work with employees to give direction on how employees can create individual goals that align to larger company objectives. When team members set their own goals, they’re much more likely to achieve them and down the road, they’ll be more prime candidates for internal promotions.

Transparency About Role Changes

It’s a common predicament: you can’t be what you can’t see. Just as having a more diverse team will help you build a more diverse candidate pool, creating a culture that practices upward mobility will make it more possible for your staff to see their own paths forward. Use your monthly or quarterly team meetings to celebrate team members who move up, and give them the opportunity to guide other employees from their own experience.

Also, make transparency about open (or soon-to-be-open) positions a priority. It’s critical that your team not only feels informed about what opportunities are available, but also encouraged to speak up about their interest in those opportunities.

Internal Mentoring Programs

Most organizations use a linear promotion strategy when hiring from within—the assistant manager becomes the manager, then the director, then the senior director, and so on. But smart organizations think outside the box, allowing staff to view themselves in a variety of positions that emphasize their skill sets.

One of the best ways to facilitate a more networked view of promotions is through mentorship. Give team members and chance to shadow the positions that interest them, and encourage mentor relationships that go beyond manager/direct report. This approach helps mentees become interested and capable in a wider variety of roles and gives the mentor more practice in coaching skills.

HighGround gives employees an tool to initiative feedback and candid conversations with not only their managers, but colleagues across the organization. It also provides discussion guides to help managers hone their mentorship skills. Agile performance management and employee engagement software  is a great way to facilitate conversations and development opportunities in every department.

Access to Online Learning

Professional development opportunities at most organizations look like the occasional allowance for books or conferences directly related to an employee’s position. It’s important that your employees hone their current skills, but it’s also true that your most valuable team members often the switch hitters—those who can step up to bat when an urgent need arises that’s not necessarily in their job descriptions.

Online learning sites such as Lynda.com help employees seek development opportunities related to their current work, and in skill sets outside their job descriptions. Providing your people with access to these tools is a win-win—it conveys your commitment to and belief in them, while bringing more valuable and promotable skills into your organization.

Successful leaders don’t look at their company’s org chart and see names tethered to their seats—they look at an org chart and see untethered talent, fluid and capable of stepping in where and when needed. All it takes is a little push.


Today’s guest post was written by Karri Bishop is a marketing communications specialist at TechnologyAdvice, a B2B marketing firm that connects buyers and sellers of business technology. Karri manages social media strategy and covers various topics in the industry.