Promotion or career advancement is a process through which an employee of a company is given a higher share of duties, a higher pay-scale or both. A promotion is not just beneficial for employees but is also highly crucial for the employer or business owners. It boosts the morale of promoted employees, increases their productivity and hence improves upon the overall profits earned by the organization.

When and How to Promote Your Employees

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In this article, we shall learn more about 1) what promotions and appraisals are, 2) what their importance is, 3) when should they be given, and 4) how should you promote your employees. So let’s read on to find out more.


A promotion is a step further that an employee takes while working in an organization as far as his/her work, rank or position is concerned. Every organization or workplace has a certain job hierarchy structure according to which an employee advances in that organization and gets promoted. Promotion is not just a reward that an employee is given for his/her continued good performance but is the proof that an employer thinks that it is time to add more responsibilities to an employee’s existing set of responsibilities.

There are many types of promotions – while some guarantee advancement in the job position or rank, other may guarantee an increase in the pay or salary. In some organization, a promotion may result in a just change of duties and responsibilities. Promoting employees for their excellence in performance is important to value their efforts and keep their morale up.

An appraisal or performance appraisal, on the other hand, is a method through which an employee’s performance is judged, evaluated or measured. These appraisals are a regular part of the career development of workers and employees and are an integral part of any working organization. Appraisals can be both negative and positive. While in positive appraisals, the overall evaluation comes out to be positive and may result in a salary increase, a negative appraisal on the other hand is a proof that an employee hasn’t been performing up to expectations and actions are taken to motivate him/her to do so from then onwards.

A performance appraisal is a periodic and systematic process that tries to assess the performance at work as well as the level of productiveness of the employees. This may consider the various achievements, accomplishments, weaknesses as well as the strengths of the employee so that overall results can be evaluated. For team leads and executives to get promoted, superiors will check your leadership qualities and skills.


A promotion is not only a way to add more responsibilities to an employee but is a major form of boosting employee motivation and morale. This results in high productivity and prevents your company from losing its valuable and important employees. There are many benefits and advantages of promoting employees regularly for their efforts, and the following are some of the main ones:

  • Recognizes & Improves employee performance, ambition, and hard work: One of the most important benefits of employee promotion is that it helps you to recognize and acknowledge the performance and hard work of your employees and thus makes them feel valued. When an employee’s efforts are valued, he/she tends to work harder and tries to improve his/her performance further which in turn works for the business. A promotion also improves the ambition of employees and boosts their passion for reaching their goals as well as the objectives of your organization.
  • Boosts motivation & increases loyalty of employees: An employee who gets promoted tends to feel more inspired and motivated to continue doing the good work, and this is yet another reason why promotions are so important. This increase in motivation leads to better productivity and performance that in turn works in the favor of your organization. Moreover, a promotion also improves and increases loyalty among the employees since they tend to feel a sense of belonging in the workplace and start thinking in its favor.
  • Encourages retention: When the right talent is identified by the management and timely promotion is practiced, the deserving and skilled employees may not be forced to leave the workplace. This improves the retention of the skilled and talented employees and thus benefits the workplace even further. By retaining top level workers and employees, your organization prevents the need for hiring new talent and then grooming them all over again, thus saving time and money.
  • Develops competitive spirit at the workplace: When the better team person gets promoted, the other team members may be charged and motivated to perform better than them, and this helps to develop a healthy competitive spirit at the workplace. This kind of a spirit is good for an organization since it promises good performances all around and hence an overall improved productivity.
  • Grooms leaders for the future: When the management decides to promote employees for their hard work, they are basically recognizing talent and finding future leaders. This identification of future leaders enables them to groom employees for the future and makes them explore their skills and talent further. Grooming leaders for the future is beneficial for the organization and helps to improve the overall productivity.
  • Reduces employee resistance and discontent: If employees go on working hard without any appreciation, praise or appraisal, a sense of discontent and resistance may crop up, and this may not be good for the organization. This can even make their performance go down, hence proving negative for the company. But internal promotion can help to reduce employee resistance and discontent. Just think about the impact of staff missing work.


For an organization, deciding whether or not an employee is ready for promotion can be a challenge. Not all employees may be ready for an appraisal or a promotion due to lack of the length of service, the right number of achievements as well as lack of the needed skills and experience at the given position. A promotion is an important decision since it doesn’t only involve change in rank but also more duties and responsibilities and hence must be taken after careful assessment and evaluation of one’s skills, performance and several other factors, that have been given below:

  1. Performance — One of the most important points for evaluating when is the right time to promote an employee is to assess or evaluate his/her performance over a given period of time.
  2. Length of service (seniority) – Another thing to take into consideration for knowing when the employee is ready for promotion or not is the length of service. The number of years that one has also served determines the time of promotion.
  3. Merit and ability – The merit and the ability of the individual, is also a great tool to measure the overall worthiness of the employee’s promotion.
  4. Educational/technical qualifications – The educational and technical qualifications is also a measure or decision-making tool as far as the promotion is concerned.
  5. Assessment of potential – The amount of potential one has in him to perform in the future or at a new position should also be assessed before deciding about promotions.
  6. Spacing of the promotion and career span of the individual – Another thing that must be considered when considering the promotion for an employee is the time since the last promotion.
  7. Training – The amount of training an employee has been given or the level to which he/she has also been groomed acts as a deciding factor.

When to take the decision of promoting employees

The decision to promote employees or not differs for lower level employees to management level employees. Let’s look at some aspects that one looks for to take this decision at both these levels:

A) For lower-level employees:

  1. When they excel beyond expectations – When employees continue to work and excel beyond the expectations and give a consistent performance, then this could be one sign that they are ready for a promotion. When their performance surpasses what is required of them, then this means that they are self-motivated to give their best and may be able to perform well at a higher position as well.
  2. They do beyond just completing their task – Besides completing their task and duties, when an employee begins to go a step beyond and do additional tasks, then this too could mean that he/she is now ready to be given more responsibilities and will be capable of handling more work at a higher position. This means that they are naturally capable of taking in more and giving out more.
  3. When they are highly committed to their work – While some employees need to be pushed to deliver, others are just natural committed and dedicated to what they do, and this comes across in their work and attitude. When a junior level or lower level employee begins to show genuine commitment towards his/her duties and responsibilities, then this can be one sign that the employee may be ready for more responsibilities or an appraisal. This commitment can be seen in the time the employee spends to complete a task till the end, the number of breaks he/she takes, the willingness to take new tasks, etc.
  4. When they prove to be very adaptive – When a lower level employee proves to the management that he/she can easily adapt and adjust working with teams, in different settings and can handle change well, and then he/she automatically throws a good impression. You as an employer need adaptive and flexible employees and someone who shows this quality can be considered for promotion too. Someone who is adaptive and adjusting does not take the time to produce the same level of results in different settings and is hence an asset.
  5. They have already mastered their task or technical craft – When an employee has already mastered his/her technical craft well at the given position, then this means that it is time now to introduce him/her to further technical concepts and train him/her to learn new things. Hence when a lower level or entry level employee showcases excellence at his/her work, then it may be time for you to promote him.
  6. When they start helping others – An employee of your company will be able to help and support others around him only if he/she is comfortable with his/her work and completes it on time. Hence, if you observe a particular employee extending a helping hand to others with their work, then this may just be a sign to consider him/her for an appraisal or promotion. This also means that he/she is looking out for others to ensure the business’s overall success that too is an encouraging sign.

B) For management-level employees:

Besides the points mentioned above, you can consider the following for the decision-making process for management level employees:

  1. When they are capable of managing themselves – When it comes to management level employees, one of the best signs that can help you know that it is time to promote them is when they become capable of managing themselves, motivating themselves or handling their work without the need of supervision from senior employees. When they stop relying on your instructions and work towards the welfare of the business on their own, then this mean that you can give them more responsibilities to handle without a doubt.
  2. Their aim becomes success of your business – When a manager of your organization puts behind his/her personal agenda and makes your business’s success his/her aim, then this too is a way to know that a promotion is on the cards. A subtle sign of this could be when ‘Mine’ becomes ‘Our’ in their little conversations regarding work.
  3. When they start showing responsibility, and ownership – A sign of a future leader or an excellent administrator is the ability to take responsibility and convert each opportunity into success. When he/she begins to show a sense of ownership towards your business and makes it his/her personal responsibility to lead it towards success, then such an employee must be retained and promoted.
  4. They start volunteering for superior roles – One of the greatest signs to look for in an employee to know that he/she is ready for a promotion is when he/she starts volunteering for superior roles, more responsibilities, and better opportunities. This means that he/she is willing to take more work, contribute in a much bigger way and is ready to take on the next step.


Now that you know how to identify whether an employee is ready for promotion or not, it is time to figure out how you would promote him/her. Promotion is not just the upward or forward reassignment of an employee of your workplace but is a properly structured process that must remain within the bounds of the organization’s hierarchy. Hence, a proper process of promotion of employees must be followed which is fair for all and biased for none. The following given information will help you know how to promote your employees:

Models and schemes of promotion

There are several different schemes and models of promotions. Every organization either chooses one of these methods or applies a combination of one or more such models to promote their employees. Let’s take a look at some of the most used and popular methods:

Noncompetitive model of promotion

Promotions that are based on the standard set of achievements and accomplishments of employees are known as noncompetitive promotions. In such promotions, employees are promoted once they reach a certain milestone in their career journey, irrespective of variable features like performance and dedication, etc. These types of promotions work seamlessly for all the employees, and there is no scope for a bias or unfair appraisal.

  • Time scale promotion (Based merely on seniority) – A time scale promotion is a kind of a noncompetitive promotion which takes place after the person has spent a standard or fixed number of years working for the organization or working at a particular position in the organization.
  • Accretion of Duties – In the case when a person has to be promoted due to an increase in his/her workload or duties is also a noncompetitive method of promotion.
  • Adhocism – In some cases, an organization may have to promote someone without following any policy but just to meet the needs of crucial or urgent times or situations.

Competitive model of promotion

A competitive model of promotion is a method in which employees have to prove their worth to employers in order to be promoted to a higher rank or position. Unlike the noncompetitive method, this method takes into account employee performance, productivity, skills, experience, knowledge and other such factors. There is a comparison of employees on the basis of their hard work and performance in this model.

  • Merit-based promotion – Merit-based promotions are competitive types of promotions in which a person is promoted on the basis of their skills, performance, knowledge, hard work and qualifications.
  • Merit-cum-seniority – Merit-cum-seniority promotions are those types of promotions where a balance between the merit as well as the seniority of the individual is kept in mind before considering a promotion.

Up-gradation promotion or Out promotion

This is the kind of a promotion method in which when the amount of pay increases without a change in the job or rank. In case of Out promotion, an employee seeks employment somewhere else because of being offered a better pay-scale.

Dry promotion

In this case, an employee is promoted to a higher rank but without an increase in the salary.

Paper promotion

Paper promotion takes place in government jobs that consist of several departments. These types of promotions take place on the basis of the seniority of an employee and are the ones in which the employee belonging to a parent department is given a promotion by another department from which it receives the hike in salary.

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