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Why your employees aren't applying for the promotion....the answer may surprise you!!

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

Over the weekend, I was chatting with a friend of mine who also happens to be a senior HR leader about what they often see getting in the way of people being successfully promoted into a new role at an existing company. Their response was fascinating and not what I thought it would be. It struck me when they started talking about the fear some employees have about their current manager being angry at them for wanting to try for a promotion that perhaps exists in a different department. Shouldn’t we be aiming to create a culture where we consider internal talent, in most cases, ahead of external talent first while working to promote amongst the organization’s leadership that a ‘promote from within the company’ culture is a good idea? I found it fascinating that many people working at this organization felt this way, but fast forward to today; things are so different. Under the guidance and support from HR, the organization has turned this company culture into a ‘promote from within’ dynamo. All of the positions get posted internally first, and everyone who wants to apply is encouraged to do so. Now the organization is focused on another challenge, creating best practices for their leaders on giving credible and actionable developmental feedback to those who aren’t successful in the interview process. They are well on their way to having a solid culture focused on developing great talent and helping them advance in their careers.

It was an excellent reminder for me that employees may not always come out and say what’s on their minds. Making sure you have mechanisms in place to seek their feedback proactively is essential. Consider things like an annual employee culture survey that dives deep into your workplace culture and the type of environment you want it to be. Skip levels are another excellent way for the organization’s senior leaders to jump down a few levels, connect to those working on the front lines, and discover what might be on their minds.

Whichever way you choose to do it, proactively seeking to figure out what’s on the hearts and minds of your employees is a worthwhile exercise that will pay huge dividends to your overall culture and team morale if you act on their feedback.

Be well, friends!!

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