6 tips to find out if your employee is ready for a promotion


The new year is just around the corner, which means that appraisal interviews are due to be planned. Rewarding good performances can be done by means of a promotion and/or a salary increase.

A promotion must be carefully considered and should always be in line with the company values. Is the promotion accompanied by leadership?

Make sure that your employee has the right competencies to hold this position, because it is possible that a well-performing team member is not capable of leading others at all. 

How do you know if your employee is ready for a promotion? Ricky Mui, Managing Director - Greater China at Robert Walters, provides 6 tips to help you determine whether someone is ready for a promotion or not. 

1. Find out if the employee is ready for a new challenge

Ricky: "Employees often raise the matter that they want to learn more or that they are ready for a new challenge. This is something that you, as a manager, should always keep in mind. Fast-learners easily lose their motivation and are ready for a new challenge more quickly. If you experience this with one of your employees, it is advisable to promote them or to offer them a more challenging range of tasks. This not only benefits the employee, but also the organisation. By doing so, your employees will not be tempted to look for the new challenge elsewhere and you will retain the best talent and those with the most knowledge of the organisation.” 

2. Ask colleagues about their experiences with the employee 

"Be objective and don't just rely on your own experiences. This is a tip to consider, as they may have a different way of dealing with the employee." 

Ask colleagues what their perception is: do they think that the employee deserves a promotion?

3. Check if the employee is able to manage new tasks

"Of course, it is also important to ask employees themselves the question: would they like the new range of tasks? It is not because employees do their job very well, that they are also hoping for a promotion. If it turns out that the employee is not eager to take on extra responsibilities or tasks but you still want to reward them for tehir strong performance, there are of course other options to keep them motivated." 

4. Provide a set of tasks

"A promotion doesn't always have to be accompanied by a new job title. It can also happen that the employee retains his or her job title, but that they is given some additional responsibilities. With the help of the new set of tasks, you can determine whether a salary increase is appropriate and how much it should be. If the employee already performs a number of tasks from the new job package, it proves that they are ready for that well-deserved promotion."

5. Give a trial period to prove himself 

"It may be difficult for your employee to assess whether they can handle the new responsibilities. This is especially the case when the new set of tasks is very different from the current one. In this case, you can offer an assignment or a trial period in which employees can prove themselves. This again benefits both parties: the employee feels whether they are able to function in this new position and as an employer you also get new insights into his capabilities. 

6. Consider other alternatives to reward employees

As mentioned earlier, sometimes the employee is not ready for a new challenge and prefers to continue doing what they are good at. If this is the case with your employee, you can of course also reward them with a salary increase. When a salary increase is not an option, there are of course other ways to keep your team member motivated, such as:

  • Organising training or seminars to improve certain skills
  • Offering the possibility to work from home, so that they can manage their own agenda
  • Celebrating successful projects with a dinner or team activity
  • Giving gifts like vouchers, cinema tickets, champaign bottles to reward employees who have completed difficult tasks.