New year, new career growth or the case for internal promotions
Performance 4 minute read

New year, new career growth or the case for internal promotions

Rise | February 2, 2021

Internal promotions are an important part of creating a positive company culture. Employees want to work for organizations where they know that their career growth is a priority.

“New year, new you” doesn’t have to just apply to personal goals. Resolutions can (and should) also apply to career growth.

A big part of HR and management’s role is to help employees succeed and grow, and an important part of that is identifying which employees should advance in their career when new opportunities arise within your organization.

Forbes predicts that company loyalty will continue to decrease in 2021, so it’s more important than ever to support career growth for your employees. Additionally, research has found “that promoting workers into leadership roles can transform them into ‘more conscientious’ employees”.

In any organization, the workforce is filled with individuals that are highly skilled, competent, and professional.

Employees are hired and are still employed because they’ve shown they’re capable of performing well in their current role. So how do you choose between your people when an internal vacancy needs to be filled?

Organizations face this dilemma every day. Here are some “non-performance” attributes employers should be looking for when deciding who to promote. 


Communication is vital to any role, but is especially important for an employee’s career growth. The ability to effectively communicate with a variety of individuals with various personality types is essential. Employees must also be able to communicate with key stakeholders and communicate (read: champion) their ideas as well. 


Look for employees who treat their colleagues with kindness and respect, especially colleagues who may be “lower” on the career ladder. Compassion and empathy are an indicator of someone who will fit in and adjust well to a role within a new team.


Reliable employees don’t change their attitude depending on who’s asking them to do something. If they’re polite and professional with the CEO, they should conduct themselves the same way when talking to a volunteer. If their mood seems to vary drastically day-to-day, they may not have the consistent temperament that’s crucial to a leadership role. Nothing erodes trust and breaks down communication faster than if people don’t know where they stand with someone because of their inconsistent attitude.


At one point or another, you’ve likely worked with someone who was consistently negative and just plain drained the energy out of the room. You may have avoided engaging with them whenever possible. On the opposite side, someone who is positive and solutions-oriented is a colleague that you enjoy working with. 

Positivity is an asset in a leader. This doesn’t mean that your ideal employee should blindly ignore problems and pretend to be happy no matter what. Rather, it means that your employees should be able to reflect on the positives and look for solutions. A positive employee sees challenges as opportunities to learn, not as setbacks. 

Positive attitude is also very important when considering how employees deal with feedback. Are they willing to listen and respond in a constructive way? Or do they get defensive and refuse to admit their mistakes or shortcomings? Admitting to blindspots and being willing to work on them is an essential part of career growth.

The quality that matters most of all should ultimately be their ability to be a team player.

Think about the following scenario: Two individuals resolved a problem for you. One person made you feel positive and supported, assuring you that your input was valued as you collaborated to find a solution. The other person complained the whole way through, making you feel guilty that you asked for their help. Even though they both solved the problem, it was the positive and supportive employee who stood out and may be the better choice for a promotion.

When HR needs to make an internal hiring decision, the ultimate deciding factor should be how the employee in consideration treats their colleagues. Skills and talents aside, people remember how you made them feel.

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