Are Your Employees Truly Ready for a Promotion?

One of your employees has put in long hours to try to impress you. They’ve been submitting reports days before the deadline, and they’ve been expressing their interest in a leadership position that recently opened.

You’ve seen their drive and commitment, so you say yes…only to turn around and fire them six months later for insubordination.

What went wrong?

Unfortunately, promoting your employees isn’t as simple of a process as it should be. Sometimes it can take months of training, and sometimes, they just aren’t cut out for the position in the first place. So if you’re looking to use promotions to reward your employees, and put together an all-star team at your company, here are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Past success does NOT equal future success.

Just because your employees thrive in their current position, doesn’t mean that they can carry that drive to a new role. While it can be an indicator of their willingness to learn, you can’t rely on their passion to keep that ball rolling.

The main reason behind this is that we don’t always vet our employees for their potential, we vet them for the job they signed up for. You wouldn’t judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, but if you’re looking for one that you can train to climb a tree in the future, you’d need to seek out a very talented fish.

Let your employees play to their strengths.

If you find that an individual goes above and beyond in their current role, odds are, they fit the role’s qualifications exceptionally well. But if you attempt to put them out of their comfort zone, they won’t always be able to excel further.

Let’s say that you’re the CEO of an electric company and you find that one of your technicians works harder than anyone else on your team. If you choose to promote them to a leadership position, it’s an entirely different story.

They might not have the communication skills to fit their new role, or maybe they have issues making decisions for the good of the company. So training them might seem like the next logical course of action. But…

Training can only help so much.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t expect him to manage your assets properly and scale your business in the most efficient way possible. Although, a horse has proven me wrong before.

If you believe that an individual has potential in a more leadership-based role, you can’t solely rely on training to get them ready. They might not be a viable candidate for that role in the first place. 

For example, if someone works well in a customer service role, and you’re looking to promote them to operations management, a few behaviors can get in the way. Maybe they tend to be condescending when the conversation gets out of their hands, or outright aggressive. You can attempt to train them to control their temper, but you can’t always stop human nature from taking the wheel.

So how can you tell if an individual will fit the bill before you waste your resources?

It all comes down to human behavior.

Pre-employment assessments are the key to predicting an individual’s behavior. While past performance and specialization can be good indicators, behavioral testing is the only reliable predictor of how someone might act in a given role.

If your employees are interested in a more comprehensive position, take a look at their behavioral results. While it may take research or professional results to accurately make a decision, you’ll save resources in the long run.

An individual might be more instinctive when it comes to decisions, which isn’t a great idea if their new role requires long-term planning. Or maybe they tend to be more introverted, which can be a pain if they need to run strategy meetings every Thursday.

Assessments can help take out the guesswork.

The easiest way to learn if your employee is ready for a promotion is to use a testing battery. When you understand how someone tends to behave, it’s much easier to predict their actions in the future. It’s not worth trying to shoehorn your employees into a role they can’t take on, so put in some work beforehand to make the decision simple.

In The Meantime, Here's Something To Help You On Your Journey. Take The Leadership Culture Survey