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The Empuls Glossary

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Employee Promotion

An employee promotion is the advancement of an employee to a higher position within a company.

Who to promote in your next employee promotion phase?

Choosing the right person for a promotion is crucial. Here are some key factors to consider when making your decision:

  • Performance: Has the employee consistently exceeded expectations in their current role? Can they demonstrate a strong track record of success?
  • Skills & experience: Does the candidate possess the necessary skills and experience for the new position? Are they willing to learn and develop further?
  • Leadership potential: Does the employee demonstrate leadership qualities and the ability to motivate and inspire others? This is particularly important for promotions to supervisory roles.
  • Cultural fit: Will the employee thrive in the new role and contribute positively to the team dynamic? Consider their work style and how they interact with colleagues.
  • Growth potential: Does the candidate have the potential to grow and develop further within the organization? Look for individuals with a strong work ethic and a desire to learn.

What is employee promotion?

An employee promotion signifies the advancement of an individual to a higher position within a company. It typically involves increased responsibilities, a higher salary or benefits package, and recognition for the employee's contributions. Promotions can be a powerful motivator, signifying career growth and achievement.

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What are types of employee promotions?

Promotions come in various forms, depending on the company structure and career paths available. Here are some common types:

  • Vertical promotion: This is the most classic promotion, where an employee moves up a hierarchical level within the organization. For example, a junior accountant being promoted to a senior accountant position.
  • Horizontal promotion: This involves a move to a different role at the same level, often with a new title and potentially a higher salary. This could be a strategic shift to utilize the employee's skillset in a different area, or a reward for exceeding expectations. An example might be a marketing associate being promoted to a sales associate position.
  • Dry promotion: This less common scenario involves an employee receiving a higher title and potentially increased responsibilities without a corresponding pay raise. This might occur due to budget constraints or when the primary focus is on recognizing the employee's contributions with a prestigious title.
  • Project promotion: In some organizations, leading a large or complex project can be seen as a temporary promotion. The employee takes on increased responsibility and visibility for the project's duration, potentially with additional compensation or a title change. Once the project concludes, they may return to their previous role or transition to a permanent promotion based on their performance.

What are the benefits of employee promotion?

Promotions offer a multitude of advantages for both employers and employees:

1. Employee benefits

  • Increased motivation & engagement: Promotions signal recognition and career advancement, which can significantly boost employee morale, satisfaction, and engagement.
  • Enhanced skills & development: New roles often involve greater responsibilities and challenges, pushing employees to further develop their skillsets and knowledge.
  • Retention & loyalty: Employees who feel valued and see opportunities for growth within the company are more likely to stay with the organization.
  • Increased compensation & benefits: Promotions typically come with a higher salary, better benefits package, or both.

2. Employer benefits:

  • Improved performance: Motivated and engaged employees tend to perform at a higher level, leading to increased productivity and efficiency.
  • Institutional knowledge retention: Promoting from within allows the company to retain valuable knowledge and experience within the organization.
  • Succession planning: A well-defined promotion path helps identify and develop future leaders, ensuring a smooth transition when senior positions become available.
  • Stronger employer brand: A reputation for offering career advancement opportunities can attract top talent and enhance the company's employer brand.

What is the employee promotion best practices?

Effective employee promotion practices are essential for fostering a motivated workforce, retaining top talent, and ensuring the continued success of your organization. Here are some key best practices to consider:

1. Clear criteria and transparent process

  • Define promotion criteria: Establish clear and objective criteria for promotion in each position. This could include required skills and experience, performance benchmarks, and leadership qualities.
  • Transparent communication: Clearly communicate the promotion process to all employees. This includes outlining the criteria, application process, and timeline for decisions.
  • Development opportunities: Provide opportunities for employees to develop the skills and experience needed for promotions. Offer training programs, mentorship opportunities, and stretch assignments to help employees prepare for advancement.

2. Fairness and objectivity

  • Standardized evaluation: Utilize a standardized evaluation process to assess candidates for promotion. This ensures fairness and reduces the risk of bias.
  • Consider multiple factors: Go beyond just tenure or current performance. Look for well-rounded candidates who demonstrate the potential for success in the new role, including their past achievements, leadership skills, and cultural fit.
  • Involve multiple perspectives: Consider input from a panel of reviewers, including the employee's direct manager, peers, and HR representatives. This provides a more comprehensive view of the candidate's qualifications.

3. Motivation and retention

  • Internal hiring: Prioritize promotion from within whenever possible. This demonstrates a commitment to employee development and rewards loyalty.
  • Career path visibility: Outline clear career paths within the organization. This allows employees to see the potential for growth and how their current role contributes to their long-term career goals.
  • Celebrate promotions: Publicly recognize and celebrate employee promotions. This motivates others to strive for advancement and reinforces the value placed on growth within the company.

What is the difference between open and closed promotion?

The key difference between open and closed promotions lies in the eligibility of applicants. Here's a breakdown of each concept:

Open promotion:

  • Eligibility: An open promotion allows all interested employees within the organization to apply for the vacant position.
  • Benefits:
  • Wider talent pool: Opens the opportunity to a broader range of qualified candidates, potentially leading to the discovery of hidden talent within the company.
  • Increased employee engagement: Demonstrates transparency and fairness in the promotion process, potentially boosting employee morale and engagement.
  • Improved employer brand: Can enhance the company's reputation as one that fosters career growth from within.
  • Drawbacks:
  • Increased time & resources: The larger applicant pool can require more time and resources to screen and interview candidates.
  • Discouragement for existing team: If the role involves specialized skills primarily possessed by the current team, opening it up to everyone might discourage qualified team members from applying.

Closed promotion:

  • Eligibility: A closed promotion limits applicants to a pre-selected group of employees, typically those within the department or team where the vacancy exists. This group might be chosen based on specific criteria such as relevant experience, performance evaluations, or demonstrated skills.
  • Benefits:
  • Faster selection process: The smaller pool allows for a quicker and more efficient selection process.
  • Focus on existing talent: Ensures qualified individuals familiar with the team and company culture are considered first.
  • Targeted selection: Allows for prioritizing candidates with skills and experience directly relevant to the specific role.
  • Drawbacks:
  • Limited talent pool: May restrict the possibility of discovering high-potential employees from other departments who could excel in the role.
  • Perception of unfairness: If not communicated effectively, a closed promotion could be seen as lacking transparency and favoring certain employees.

How to promote an employee?

Promoting an employee should be a well-defined process. Here's a breakdown of the typical steps involved:

  • Needs assessment: Identify the need for a promotion by analyzing your current staffing structure and upcoming vacancies.
  • Announce the opening: Clearly communicate the open position internally, outlining the role's responsibilities, required qualifications, and application process.
  • Application & selection: Allow employees to apply for the promotion and establish a selection process that may involve reviewing resumes, conducting interviews, and potentially skills assessments.
  • Evaluation & decision: Evaluate candidates based on the established promotion criteria and select the most qualified individual for the role.
  • Promotion offer & negotiation: Present the promotion offer to the chosen candidate and discuss salary, benefits, and start date.
  • Announcement & transition: Publicly announce the promotion and ensure a smooth transition for the promoted employee, including necessary training and handover of responsibilities.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

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