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The Right Way to Give Promotions
By Ken Wisnefski, President,

There is a right and wrong way to promote employees. Being too lax in your decision making could be disastrous for your company.

Do you find the process of granting promotions easy? When a company expands, or the length of time an employee is with the company grows, the subject of promotions arises. It is easier to grant promotions than to diligently survey the prospects and make a decision that is right for your company.

While it is less time consuming to give the affirmative nod to your employees, doing this for the wrong candidate will result in disaster for your company. It is critical to understand what will be beneficial and detrimental for your company.

The following are guidelines to follow in promoting employees:

Know why not to promote

There are many "wrong" reasons for promoting employees:
  • They are a friend
  • They have worked for you for a long time
  • They have been bored, so you think a new assignment will invigorate them
  • If they are not promoted, they will quit
  • You need to fulfill the position quickly
There are many wrong reasons to promote an employee. It is not easy to differentiate business decisions from humane decisions. Unfortunately, being a nice person does not always make you a smart businessperson.

Competence does not mean excellence

Presidents promote for the wrong reasons and they sometimes assume that competency will be translatable. Competency does not mean excellence, but even if an employee is doing satisfactory work in one position, it does not mean that they will be competent in another position.

For instance, an employee may have more of a technical-based job at the time. They do well, so they are promoted to a position that requires people skills. The employee's performance may suffer because the two positions warrant different attributes in order to succeed.

Know what you are looking for and tell others

It is suggested to think of a detailed, theoretical description of the ideal employee for each job. Know exactly what attributes will successfully fulfill each position. Educate your employees on what behaviors are desirable for each position.

When positions are available, remind the employees of what characteristics you will be looking for in the person that will fulfill the position.

View weaknesses

Look at the employee completely - gauging all strengths and weaknesses against the intended position. Assess if their weaknesses can be strengthened by position-specific training, workshops, mentoring, etc. Sometimes a new job will bring new strengths and weaknesses with it; an employer must be aware of these possibilities in making their final decision.

Moving up can bring some down

Some find it difficult to move to a higher position and leave their former cohorts behind. In some instances, a person may have to supervise the same people with whom they shared the same rank with beforehand. Make sure your candidate is prepared to act in accordance with their new position.

Learn from experience

Note how all scenarios develop. If a promotion becomes a great move for the whole company, evaluate why the person was a good fit for the position and look to duplicate that process in the future. If the person does not live up to the expectations of a new position, consider why, and do not follow the same motions in making promotions in the future.

Kenneth C. Wisnefski is the president of, an online business to business marketplace that connects business consumers with pre-approved vendors in over 150 different categories. has over 5,000 vendors in their Approved Vendor Network and processes close to 10,000 requests per month from businesses of all sizes.

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