An open job posting presents a real challenge for your business. Not only does hiring a new employee cost money, but the skills gap means that finding skilled and qualified employees is difficult. Some companies address this challenge by hiring from within. This strategy brings several benefits as long as your employees are ready for a promotion.

How can you tell your employees are ready for a promotion? Attitude, engagement, and skill level all play a role. You can make sure that you have a pool of promotion ready candidates by offering training and development opportunities for employees at all levels.

Deciding to hire from within

When your business has a position that needs to be filled, your first decision is whether to hire from within or open the job up to external candidates. Hiring from outside the organization can be useful in some cases. It brings in fresh perspectives and ideas. It's also expensive. Employers spend an average of $4,129 to hire a new employee, according to the Society for Human Resource Management's Human Capital Benchmarking Report. While hiring from within doesn't eliminate this cost, it is less expensive.

When you hire from within first, you reap other benefits as well. Hiring from within improves morale by showing all employees that it's possible to advance. There is a career path for them within the organization. Employees as a group will feel more valued when they know that the company will look to them as future leaders. It encourages them to continue doing their best work and keep developing their skills.

Finally, employees promoted from within take less time to acclimate to the new job. They already understand how the organization works and may already have foundational knowledge and relationships with core business teams. The learning curve is easier to navigate because they already understand the organization. You can make the transition even smoother by giving employees the training and resources to prepare them for a promotion.

Identifying employees who are promotion ready

Some businesses that hire from within fall into an unhealthy habit. They promote only the people who have been with the organization the longest. While this sounds like the fairest option, it can mean settling for less qualified and less motivated candidates. A long tenure does not equal preparation for promotion. While loyalty to the business can certainly play a role in the discussion, skills and attitude are equally important.

Depending on the position you're trying to fill, the following characteristics can indicate that your employee is ready for promotion:

  • Eager to learn-Employees can only do well in their new roles if they are ready and eager to learn. Each promotion brings new challenges and demands new skills.
  • Leadership skills-In most cases, a promotion will give your employee additional leadership responsibility. Make sure they are prepared for the task.
  • Communicate well-Good communication is essential at all levels of your business. Candidates for promotion should be able to communicate with both junior and senior employees, and with clients or customers as well.
  • Have goals and plans-When an employee has clear goals in mind, it shows that they are ambitious and ready to work for a better future. They'll put that same vision and energy into their new job.
  • Bring solutions not complaints-Promotion ready candidates are out to solve problems, not complain about them. These are the employees who come to you with a solution to a problem you didn't even know existed.
  • Ask for promotion-While some employees will ask for a promotion before they are ready, the ask is still a good indicator that an employee wants to move to the next level.

Some employees will come to you with all of these characteristics. Others will need to be taught. You can help make employees promotion ready by giving them opportunities to grow and develop. The added bonus is that employees who aren't promoted yet will become more valuable workers as they learn new skills.

man sitting near window

How to make employees promotion ready?

Businesses save money and maintain efficiency when they ease the transition of a promotion. One of the most effective ways to do that is to identify employees who might be good candidates for promotion and then give them opportunities to grow and develop through training and degree programs.

Some employees won't take advantage of these opportunities. These are essentially self-selecting as not ready for promotion. However, others will jump at the chance to improve and expand their skills. These are the employees worth watching.

Help interested employees prepare for promotion by giving them access to some or all of the following opportunities.

Apprenticeship programs: Apprenticeships are making a comeback in recent years as more employers realize how valuable they can be, especially for middle skills workers. With apprenticeship programs, workers can continue to do their current jobs while preparing for new opportunities.

College programs: Many business are dropping degree requirements and replacing them with a focus on the right attitude and skills. However, a college degree can teach employees many useful skills. You can help make sure that the best candidates have access to collegiate level education by offering tuition assistance or tuition reimbursement.

Skills and Leadership Training: Some employees don't need a full-scale apprenticeship or college degree program. A more focused curriculum might be more useful and efficient in these cases. Help employees develop foundational skills, problem-solving, communication, teamwork and career-specific competencies through targeted training.

After the promotion

Your work is not done after you've promoted the right employee. To remain effective in their position, employees need regular feedback and continuous development. No matter how well-prepared they are for promotion, employees will always have more to learn. Help them by offering useful training and education at each stage of their development.

Penn Foster's digital skills playlists can help you get your employees promotion ready or hone their skills post-promotion. Choose from:

  • Foundational Skills-business math, business English, safety etc.
  • Workplace Skills-problem solving, communication, teamwork etc.
  • Career Skills-for your specific industry.
  • Or customize a playlist to meet your organization's specific needs.

Penn Foster also offers career programs, apprenticeship training and degree programs. 

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