Apr 27, 2012
While all your employees may not crave a promotion, some will. For those employees, upward mobility is the key motivator. They are willing to cooperate and contribute, but they want to advance in their careers. Unfortunately, promotions do not always happen fast enough for some employees.
There are two good news points to this situation. First, career advancement does not have to be only about getting promoted. Rather, it can be about activities, projects, or assignments that contribute to opportunities for promotion. Second, employees know that promotions are not always possible. So they are willing to consider opportunities that contribute to advancement. Employees want to feel that they are working on their careers, even if they are not receiving a promotion.
To make the link between career advancement and job performance, do two things. One, look for career related opportunities in every assignment. Two, explain how every assignment offers a career related opportunity and a chance for employees to work ontheir careers. Consider theses examples:
1. You want your employee to participate in a task force. This task force will be led by an influential department manager (career related opportunity).
2. You want your employee to make a presentation at a conference. There will be several high profile managers at this conference (career related opportunity).
3. You want your employee to take a class on Effective Presentations. This class will help the employee enhance skills that will be useful during job interviews (career related opportunity).
4. You want your employee to train other employees. This assignment will enhance her or his credibility as a Subject Matter Expert (career related opportunity).
5. You want your employee to participate in a charity event for the organization. One of the major event activities will involve interviewing key leaders in the organization (career related opportunity).
This approach is about explaining to employees how their performance or participation can lead to greater visibility, more recognition, or additional career related skills. And while you are not saying to the employee, This assignment or activity will lead to a promotion. You are saying, This assignment or activity will offer you a valuable career related experience.
Believe it or not, employees will appreciate the fact that you are focusing on their career interests. Too many times managers remain silent when promotions are not possible. In those instances, employees become frustrated and stop doing their best work. The most talented employees leave for greener pastures.
By using this approach, you at least let employees know that you care about their careers. You also move the focus away from getting a promotion as the only solution to career advancement. Instead, you help employees see that they can still have some valuable career related experiences. This way, they are working on their careers and working toward a promotion. Try it and see what happens.
By Barbara Brown, PhD