Promotions can hold people back

Posted on   /2 min read

Promoting someone into a position that doesn’t really exist in your company because they’re so good and you don’t want to lose them, isn’t a kindness. You’re not lifting them up, you’re holding them back.

This person now has the title and the salary, but no way to gain the experience they need to grow to fulfil that position because your company hasn’t actually achieved the growth needed to provide the responsibilities for that position.

This happens a lot in scaling companies and it’s often done with good intentions, but sometimes the best thing you can do is let someone go. If they stay with you, they will stagnate, become bored and eventually feel trapped. They now have this inflated title and salary, but they haven’t gained the skills needed to perform it. So often when they try and move on, they struggle because they don’t have the experience for the position in companies that really need it, and they can’t afford to take a pay cut, or don’t want to take a step backwards.

The best way you can support that amazing employee, is to be honest with them and if the time comes where you’re no longer the best place for them, help them find a role somewhere else that will actually lift them up and help them grow. If your company eventually does genuinely grow to need those more senior roles, you already have a candidate to reach out to. And because you’ve built trust with that person by genuinely looking out for their best interests, they will have no reservations to come back if it’s the right move for them when it happens.

Don’t create a role in response to wanting to keep a great member of the team around and promote them into a false future. Create a role in response to a genuine need in the business then find the right person, whether that’s internally or externally.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you want to get in touch, you can find me on Mastodon.

< Back to home