Stop Promoting the Wrong People into Management Roles

You have a great employee. So great, in fact, that you are afraid you will lose her if you don’t promote her. So, you promote her. And she fails in her new managerial role. Why? Because being great at her current job doesn’t mean she will be great as a manager.

This isn’t a one-off example. According to the Gallup Organization, companies fail to choose the candidate with the right talents for management positions 82% of the time. They let old ways of advancing employees override a wiser and more results-focused approach. Think of all the resources mismanaged in this situation and think of the unintended consequences of putting the wrong person into a managerial role: employee disengagement, low morale, workplace drama and the inevitable turnover.

Today’s workplace success comes from talent alignment. Since most of our jobs are thinking jobs, we must know the brain of the job to know whether those we want to advance or promote to the job have a similar brain. People excel in roles that need what they do and like best.

But so many organizations continue to believe in promoting from within without using a sound and intentional review process to assess the existing employee’s attribute alignment to those needed in the new role. Having a clear process that is used for both new hires and internal promotions can help you both get the right people in the right jobs and build a workplace cultural value of alignment as the key to performance success. Promoting with inadequate assessment of fit and alignment is the key to disengagement and poor performance.

To be able to make wise promotion and advancement decisions, consider the following.

  1. Create a clear performance profile for all management roles. Clearly define the tasks of the roles as well as the attributes (the strengths, skills, experience and education) needed to be successful doing the defined tasks. Be clear of what is required to be successful in the role. Don’t deviate.
  2. Build and use your interview process to accurately assess the abilities of any candidate, both internal or external, new or promotion. Hold every candidate accountable to demonstrate the required strengths and skills as these are what it takes to be successful in the role.
  3. Be honest with employees about why a role is or isn’t for them. Being upfront shares that your hiring process is designed to create role alignment and is committed to getting the right person for the right job for the success of the employee and the organization.
  4. Help the employee who does not get the management role develop a meaningful development plan (including new value-add tasks) that better aligns to her core strengths that she finds both engaging and important.

So many times we automatically promote employees based on either time with the organization or success in their current role. The failure comes by promoting them from a high-performance area to an area that may be out of their core strengths. Both the employee and the organization then suffer.

Change the mindset by showing that alignment matters most, whether that means bringing in new talent or promoting existing talent. Rethink how employees can stay in their high-performance areas, continue to add value and see a career path in your organization. This is the new way to engage employees.

Take Action
Consider a new manager job opening at your company. Do you have an internal candidate in mind? Why? Take the time to really understand the role and its success attributes, then interview your employee the way you would interview an external candidate. The goal of the interview is to assess whether the employee has what it takes to do this new role. Do this to set them up for success.

Need help with this? Contact us to learn how we help companies hire and promote the right people to the right jobs.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Are You Rigid or Flexible? 

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Even in Low Unemployment, Great Companies Are Finding Great Talent

By Jay Forte

The unemployment rate across much of the country is 4% or lower. This means it is difficult to find great talent, right?

Wrong.

Consider this: The Gallup Organization has been tracking employee engagement for nearly 20 years. Employee disengagement has hovered at nearly 70% for most of that time, indicating that nearly three-quarters of the people you meet anywhere in work or life are either disengaged or actively disengaged in their jobs. These people are interested in new opportunities, opportunities that give them more than just a pay increase. These people are looking for organizations that are employee-focused, that have managers who act like coaches, have a hiring process that aligns employees to the right roles, that provide employees with the opportunity to learn and grow, and share the value and impact of every role so employees feel – and know – that the work they do matters.

If this is not you, be aware: your people are looking for organizations that offer these things (and that is a discussion for another time).

If this sounds like your organization, you are in great demand.

So, when looking at the unemployment rate, the real challenge is not as much about supply as it is about branding. How can you get the attention of those disengaged employees in other organizations to show them you are different – you are a remarkable place to work because you create an employee experience that amplifies engagement and helps employees succeed?

Create a dynamic workplace and then build a job center on your website that attracts people to see who you are, why you are remarkable and what your current employees say about working for you. This can create a talent pipeline, a constant source of talent who are disengaged in their current roles and could therefore be dynamically engaged in your organization because you offer the things they want and need, things they do not have in their current workplace.

Instead of fixating on the 4% unemployment rate that frequently has you accepting talent that doesn’t fit your roles or your organization (because you feel this is all that is available), focus on creating the kind of workplace that would attract the large number of highly talented and high-performing employees who are disappointed and disengaged in their current situations. Be employee-focused and let the world know it. Build it and they will come.

Take Action
How are you sharing what is unique, amazing and exceptional about your workplace to get the attention of disengaged employees in other organization who could be great in your workplace? Challenge yourself – and your hiring team – to develop ways to better spread the word about who you are and what you do, and why every employee does work that matters.

 

Consider reading Stop Managing and Start Coaching 

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