The 7 Signs of an Employee Who Is Ready for a Promotion

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Today's Question: What signs and behaviors tell you that an employee is ready for more responsibility?

1. High Engagement and a Willingness to Do More

Employees who are ready for a promotion typically show two specific qualities: high engagement with the company and a willingness to do more without being asked. Those who are engaged in the company feel connected to its success and will take the position more seriously, as they know how important their position is to the mission of the company. We look to promote employees who are doing more than trading hours for a paycheck – employees who are driven by helping our brand succeed.

— Neil Mclaren, Vaping.com

2. Natural Leadership Skills

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Too many managers base promotions on tenure or individual excellence. At Blue Corona, we look for leaders who naturally emerge in a group setting. The reason for this is that while an employee may be a star individual contributor, that doesn't mean they will excel at management and leadership. That's an important distinction. The best managers don't manage – they lead. They achieve results and win by influencing the attitudes, behaviors, and efforts of others. They usually emerge regardless of title, rank, or seniority, and they have a natural intuition for what motivates others. When I see someone leveraging these talents to benefit the entire team, it indicates to me that they are not only ready to take on more responsibility but will actually thrive with the added load.

The best way to make sure you're spotting these prime candidates is by keeping an open channel of communication with teams and managers and regularly taking an inventory of all the talent you have available in the company.

— Ben Landers, Blue Corona

3. Quiet Success and Peer Endorsement

An employee who is ready for promotion is an employee who constantly demonstrates a positive impact on the business without bragging about their skills. If you keep hearing a certain employee's name when talking about successes within the company, then this is an individual who needs to be promoted.

The key to this is paying attention to what a person's colleagues are saying about them. It is not about a person putting themselves forward. If you notice that a certain employee's name is constantly associated with success, then this is a staff member you should consider as a vital part of your company, one who needs advancement to help your company achieve even more.

— Steve Pritchard, giffgaff

4. Support for Colleagues

There are a number of factors to consider when promoting an employee. Efficiency, punctuality, and loyalty are just some of them. However, if your employee's promotion includes leadership responsibilities, then a key component in determining if that employee deserves the promotion is to sit them down in your office and ask them one fundamental question: What have you done to help your fellow team members in the last 24 hours?

This question is usually unexpected. It's something most employees don't prepare for. How a person answers this question will give you a true sense of their natural leadership abilities. Do they live a professional lifestyle centered around themselves, the company, or their team? Their answer will give you insight into the potential relationship between the company and the employee once they become a leader. From there, you may draw your own conclusions.

— Andrew Thompson, Peak Performance Professionals

5. Maturity and Self-Awareness When Dealing With Failure

An employee who is willing to take responsibility for themselves, including being able to handle their own failures in a mature way, is often an employee who deserves advancement. If someone is able to hold their hands up and admit they made a mistake, this is a sign of maturity. However, if that same person also deals with the situation, learns from it, and ensures the mistakes are not repeated, this is a sign they will make a good leader.

The ability to admit when you're wrong shows honesty and integrity, two qualities that any good leader will possess. Taking steps to never repeat a mistake shows drive, determination, and self-awareness – again, all traits any top staff member should strive for.

— Lucy Sherliker, Enact

6. The Drive to Improve

Knowing when somebody is ready for promotion is tricky, and people generally believe they are ready before they really are, so management of the process is key.

In terms of the signs they exhibit which suggest they are ready, an appetite for suggesting ways of improving things is an important one. Employees just getting along in a role won't have the capacity or desire to be improving things. When delivery becomes easy and mundane, good employees will interrogate how things are being done and make recommendations for improvements or find their own ways of doing things better.

Also pay attention to employees who challenge senior staff members – not in an aggressive way, but in a productive way. Once somebody becomes comfortable in their knowledge and ability, they will feel confident in challenging more senior members of the business on issues related to their area of expertise.

— Robert Weatherhead, Digital Advertising Consultant

7. Self-Directed Developmemnt

Team members who take their career and skill advancement into their own hands are often good candidates for promotion. Every year, I rewrite the job descriptions for positions on my team. This means everyone is continually skilling up without it being burdensome. I provide a Lynda.com account and access to external training. Not everyone takes advantage of all the opportunities, but I make note of those who do. Taking control of your own career is one of the most telling signs of leadership potential.

— Gretchen Skalka, TBC Corporation