HR Management: Uncovering Who's Ready For That Promotion

Welcome back!  I knew I shouldn’t have carried on about winning the bracket challenge last year.  I’m jinxed, and I’m not doing very well so far. But enough of my bracket woes--did you by chance bring your Sweet Sixteen of top performers? More importantly, who's ready for that big promotion?


As an HR manager, I find you can narrow down top performers even further when a promotion is on the table. More often than not, you'll end up with three groups: a Cinderella who's clock strikes midnight, a Final Four candidate, and a championship caliber employee.

Let’s start with a group that cannot make it to the next round.

Steady Eddie and Steady Betty – You know who these people are. They show up to work on time, and they leave on time. They get their work done on time and their work is of high quality. And right now you're thinking, “Why can’t they move to the next level?”  The answer is simple; they don’t want to. They are happy with the work they have. They like their coworkers. They are content. Now, that doesn’t mean you should ignore them.  That’s the worst thing to do. Always ask them what they would like to do, if they would like to take on additional responsibility, or anything of that nature. But don't force them to! Always know these are great people to have on your team and that consistent performance is hard to find!

And then there's the group who's ready to stake a claim, but may fall short, too.

Flip Flops – These are the people that perform well where there are now and they want to move on, but they don’t have the advanced skills set to do so. If they're aware of the gaps in their skills, hopefully they're asking for mentoring, coaching and training to improve their performance. If that’s the case, move forward with growing their skill set so when a position becomes available, you can move them right into it. Get a succession plan started now so you can flip the switch at the appropriate time. If they're unaware of the gaps in their skill sets you need to help them identify their strengths and weaknesses.  Then they can start down a path of improvement. If they do not take this kind of feedback well, then honestly, they shouldn’t have been in your sweet sixteen to begin with.

But above all the three groups, one stands out from the rest.  

Title Seekers – These are the people who are good at what they do and they know it.  They outshine and outperform. Some of them do have a flaw though, and that’s being patient. They apply for new positions within the company and outside of the company.  They are frustrating because they never stick around long enough to make a significant difference on your team. They move straight to the The Association, so to speak.

As an HR manager, what can you do? Keep then engaged and entertained. Give them projects that will give them an opportunity to work with different people and teams throughout the company. Keep them around to make a difference in your company.  Whether they're being promoted or shuffled around to different tasks, the goal's to keep your top performers on point and happy. If it's a better job title they want, they've more than likely earned it.

Now what are you going to do with the employees who didn’t make the sweet sixteen?  We'll try and cover that in the next blog.

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