Here’s the truth about promotions: Companies and individuals often have very different views on what is required to achieve a promotion. This is a problem for both sides. Individuals feel they’ve earned the next step and become unhappy when they don’t feel recognized. Companies then might lose valuable employees or experience the dreaded “ghost turnover.”
The Real Path to Promotion
In this video, our founder Robyn Clark delves into the nuance of company vs. individual when it comes to promotion and what you can do about it. If you prefer to read, here’s the transcript (slightly edited for clarity):
Have you ever felt that you’ve been passed up for promotion or it took longer than it should have? That is tough and disheartening. Many individuals feel that a promotion is a reward for hard work and for staying committed. And while that makes sense, the truth is that it isn’t that simple. This conversation is to help you navigate promotion opportunities for yourself in a way that benefits both you and the organization.
Here’s the challenge: Most organizations see promotions very differently than individuals do. For organizations, although hard work and being committed are very helpful in having someone want to give you more opportunity, they don’t see promotions as a reward per se. But rather they promote when they have a need. They look for someone who is ready. And they deem readiness not by hard work or how long you’ve been there, but rather by your ability to fill the need, meaning your ability to work at a higher level with greater complexity and more challenging decision making and problem solving. Do you see where the pain and the disconnect can be?
You might think: “I want a promotion because I’ve been in my role for a really long time.” However, one, the organization doesn’t have a need, and two, the organization doesn’t deem you ready because they haven’t seen you work at a higher level of complexity, even if you’ve done a really good job in your current role. This can be very confusing to people.
If you want to go into higher level leadership roles, sure, you should work hard and you should absolutely show commitment. AND you have to show that you’re ready to work at a higher level. You do that by showing that you can lead, that you can rally troops, that you can grow capability. Any time that you can show you can do more than what you’ve been doing in your current role, people begin to see your readiness. If you’re desiring a promotion, focus on what you can control, and take an active role in showing your organization that you’re ready to grow.
How do you get ready?
It all comes back to personal change. As mentioned in the video, if you’re ready for a promotion AND the company has a need, then the next step is to show that you’re capable of working at a higher level. First, find out what that looks like. Maybe you already know or maybe you try asking your manager or someone else working at the level you’re aspiring to. It could be that you need to project a stronger voice and be more confident. It could be that you need to up your negotiation skills and figure out how to collaborate. Whatever the personal change you need to make is, create a development plan to help keep you accountable and make it happen. Choose actions that help you achieve your ambition. And you’ll be on your way!
Have you ever made a development plan before? Hint: It’s not the same as an IDP! Our virtual career development experience, GrowWise, helps you make a development plan and create the personal change you need to grow your career. And bonus: Growing people grows companies too! Reach out for a demo.
promotion, hard work, ghost turnover, personal change, development plan