Ready to Promote an Employee? Read This First

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SkyIf you’ve found the perfect person to take on more responsibility at your company, then it’s your responsibility to make sure they’re equipped to handle their new role. Many employees – especially the development-oriented millennials – expect their employers to train them as they climb the corporate ranks, but very few employers actually do. Be the company that defies expectations and actually offers employees the development opportunities and support they want.

Of course, I understand that training programs are hard to get off the ground for many startups and small businesses. That’s why I’d like to offer the following tips on helping employees move on up – not out – at your company:

1. Formalize Your Management Training

The promoted employee was hired for a specific position – in other words, they probably weren’t hired to be a manager. Still, the employee probably took on more responsibilities over time at your company before becoming a full-fledged manager. In many cases, this type of gradual transition leaves no room for formal management training. Seventy percent employee learning happens on the job, which isn’t necessarily a good thing: The promoted employee may pick up management practices that don’t align with your expectations.

Fix This: Don’t wait for management mistakes to happen before you address them. Instead, be proactive. Write up a quick outline of your goals and expectations for the promoted employee. Be sure to include information like the scope of their authority, how they fit into the company structure now, and what you expect them to do when major challenges arise. All organizations are different, and regardless of how yours is structured, your new managers will appreciate clear guidance as they acclimate to their new roles.

2. Encourage Delegation, Not Dumping

When promoted employees transition into leadership roles, that means a lot of the work they used to do will have to be delegated to others. Make sure new managers understand that “delegating” doesn’t mean they can just dump their responsibilities onto someone else’s shoulders.

Rather, your new managers need to approach delegation in the same way that you approaching their promotion: You are helping them adjust to their new roles, and they should be helping employees adjust to their newly assigned tasks as well. Continuous, social, peer-to-peer learning is incredibly important if you want your organization to run smoothly.

TrailFix This: Let newly promoted employees know that their previous roles are still their responsibility until the ship is manned. This may seem like common sense, but promoted employees may forget it in the rush of excitement that comes with climbing the ranks. Make sure new managers are regularly checking in with and assisting the employees who have taken on their former duties.

3. Assess the Promoted Employee’s Progress

Pay attention to how the employee is handling their new role. Have they taken the initiative to send you goals for their departments? Have they sought out management resources or tips? The latter may be hard to assess if it’s not coming up in conversation, but, eventually, you’ll be able to tell whether or not your new manager is taking steps to develop their skills.

If departments aren’t improving, productivity isn’t increasing, and employee morale isn’t getting better by the day, then you’ll want to scrutinize the situation more deeply to see if any real changes are being made.

Fix This: While it’s best not to come off as overbearing, you want to make sure the right person has been promoted. You’ll be able to tell if your decision was a good one within the first few months. Be sure to watch out for the extremely excited employee who kicks it into high gear right at the start, only to burn out later on down the line. Remind your employees to maintain a steady pace, and keep your door open for any conversations your new managers may want to have.

Have more tips for training new managers? Share them in the comments please!

Read more in Career Training

Sean has worked in the Human Resources industry since he graduated from Radford University with a Bachelors in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. After working in HR as a generalist for a government contracting company, he moved to the HR Technology arena and began assisting companies in the selection and implementation of HR software.

While selling other companies' software solutions, Sean worked with Michael Warden to design over a dozen applications for different organizations and industries over the years. Sean now focuses on the vision for the company, business development, and continues involvement in the software design of Cyber Recruiter and Cyber Train.