Guest Blog: How Promoting from Within Can Help Your Company

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

By Colleen Rains

How does a company create itself to be "built to last"? The organizations with staying power figure out ways to keep the years of knowledge, relationships and context within the workforce.This bank of wisdom is invaluable – and critical for companies to retain even as employees come and go. Even the most thorough transition processes fail to retain some of the mission-critical intellectual assets. So, what are you doing to preserve this wisdom wealth?

Promoting from within is one key solution. Consider existing employees to fill open positions before going outside the organization. Internal advancement provides a wide range of benefits, including:

Employee satisfaction and loyalty. Organizations that invest in their workforce see lower turnover rates, higher employee satisfaction scores, and improvements to safety and performance. Internal advancements validate an organization's faith and confidence in the existing teams. Employees who receive an internal advancement build trust in the organization. They appreciate and acknowledge the company's commitment to the workforce. High levels of trust build loyalty and dedication to the organization.

Less risk. When promoting from within, managers know what to expect from that employee based on their track record. As the newly promoted individual learns higher-level duties, he/she can rely on existing relationships with co-workers and mentors to receive support and coaching. Not sure if someone is quite ready for a promotion? Try assigning a few higher-level duties to see how they perform. This "test drive" builds confidence in the management team and the individual ahead of the actual promotion.

Retention of "Wisdom Wealth." Employees all have unique knowledge sets based on past project involvement and individual experiences with the company. This specialized knowledge can help an organization improve products, processes, profits and services. Deeply aware of company capabilities, limitations, management, goals and customer or client needs, a long-standing employee has historical perspective that can drive results.

For internal advancement to be successful, structured programs should be incorporated to help employees grow and advance in their roles. Three methods to consider as you commit to internal advancement:

Individual Development Plans (IDP). An effective IDP acknowledges what skills the employee has mastered and provides a clear roadmap for what the employee needs to do to prepare to take the next step in their career, including opportunities to test and prove new skills (think Stretch Assignments).

Mentoring. In a formal or informal structure, a mentoring relationship can provide specific career education, training and development. Remember: the best way to prove mastery of knowledge is to teach it, so also consider engagements when the mentee must "mentor up" and give information, not just be the recipient of others' knowledge.

Coaching. The best coaching arrangements are detailed with measurable outcomes before the start of the coaching session. The person being coached must be committed to the process including preparation and completion of assignments during and between sessions in order to achieve the full benefit of the coach.

Promoting from within can help your company heighten employee satisfaction and loyalty, retain critical wisdom wealth and endure less risk; in other words, be Built to Last. Be courageous and invest in the skills of current employees. Showing your willingness to support internal growth and engage employees in the future of your company is a win-win all around.


Colleen Rains has served as Director of Human Resources at Elford, Inc. for nearly 15 years. She was recognized as Executive of the Year (Small Organization) in 2013 by Columbus CEO for proving that great HR employees and great companies go hand in hand.