7 Key Signs Your Employee Deserves A Promotion

Promotions make a lot of business owners nervous. They struggle to know who to promote and when to promote them. Plus, this recognition accompanies a raise, which is expensive for small businesses.

But if you think about it, promotions are a key business tool that supports employee retention and performance. Millennials, in particular, actively work toward promotions more than past generations. They expect recognition for their dedication and progress. When you recognize the accomplishments of your top employees this way, you set them up for higher achievements in a new role.

With that in mind, I identified seven signs that help you to pick out high-performing employees deserve promotions. If these characteristics describe any of your employees, they’re ready for a more senior position:

1. They’re Experts at Prioritizing

A promotion always means more work — but not necessarily more time. To tackle increased responsibility, employees need to be able to identify the key aspects of their roles and fulfill them every day. Business consultant Greg McKeown describes this kind of prioritization is his book Essentialism:

“It’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”

Employees are ready for a promotion when they make discerning decisions about how to allocate their time and energy. They recognize when something is urgent or integral to business functions — and when it’s not. Rather reacting to a situation, they approach each task according to its importance to the business and get the job done.

2. They Mentor Other Employees

When employees mentor their colleagues, it’s a clear sign that they show leadership potential. Not only are they embodying the values of your business, they’re helping other employees to do the same.

Is there one person at your business that always volunteers to train new staff? Or manages to be kind to everyone at the office? Giving this individual the added benefits and responsibilities of a promotion sends the message to the entire team that you value these traits. They’re likely to become the best managers, too!

3. They Surpass Your Expectations

Some employees go above-and-beyond your expectations at every turn. They show up to work five minutes early and double check that they completed their duties before they leave. When you sit down with these team members for an annual review, they’re off the charts in every way.

When you cannot offer enough words of praise for a team member, a promotion will do! High achievers know their worth; if you recognize it through a promotion and raise, they’re likely to be loyal to your business for a long time. If you don’t, they will look for recognition elsewhere.

4. They Take Ownership in Your Business

Not all team members feel a sense of ownership at work. Some workers think of the company as your business rather than our business. But the ideal candidate for a promotion takes ownership over their work and feels a strong emotional connection to the business. Experts describe this characteristic as employee engagement, which should be through-the-roof for anyone up for a promotion.

Outstanding team members use the pronouns “we” and “our” while discussing a challenge or success your business faces. They are a part of your team in an integral, powerful way — and maybe, your business wouldn’t run without them. By promoting these engaged staff members, you build on their strengths and increase their positive involvement in your business.

5. They Solve Problems Independently

Independent problem-solving is a key component of stand-out employees. Imagine that you have an issue at your coffee shop: an important delivery didn’t arrive on time. Rather than call you in a panic, resourceful, long-term employees would pick up the phone and reach out to the distributor directly. Next, they would give you an update on the problem and the steps they took toward a resolution.

Independent problem solving is an invaluable skill in an employee. It saves a business money, time, and hassle when team members can think creatively. By promoting people who exhibit this skillset, you give them more bandwidth to solve the bigger problems.

6. They Manage Up

Have you ever heard the term “managing up?” A lot of employees actually manage their bosses. They do everything they can to make things run smoothly, from taking out the trash to high-level analysis that’s way above their pay grade.

These team members are extremely perceptive —  they recognize the nuances of your business without your pointing it out. They know exactly what you need, when you need it. During an early morning debacle with a customer, they’re likely to hand you another cup of coffee and offer you words of support. These detail-oriented all-stars are ready for a promotion. Let them put their skills to use by giving them greater responsibility in the day-to-day operations of the business.

7. They Love Professional Development

The most driven employees have a clear sense of how they want their career to evolve, and they embrace professional development as a means to get there. When your employee exhibits an enthusiasm for learning by showing up to workshops, paying to get a masters degree, or pursuing work-related hobbies, they are ready for a promotion. These folks are always going to strive to grow, which is one of the clearest indicators that they will achieve at every level.

These seven signs are indicators that your best employees are ready for a promotion. By honoring their strengths, skillsets, and contributions to your business with clear recognition, you create the ideal environment for these top performers to grow their careers and your business to thrive.

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7 Key Signs Your Employee Deserves A Promotion