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Promotional Readiness


How does a company determine who and when an employee is ready for a promotion? WHAT IS THE CRITERIA? Is there a matrix or process that can be followed?
Kon Stoilas

3 Responses

  1. ASTD Article
    Hi Kon,

    In short, the criteria will be determined by what YOUR organisation values, not what some other organisation does.

    However, is there a matrix or process that can be followed, irrespective almost of criteria? Probably!

    Have a look at an article in T+D magazine October 2006 published by the ASTD ( on P22 is an article about succession planning. The article suggests looking at people against 4 levels:

    1 – contributing dependently – individual willingly accepts supervision, performs well (e.g. new starter or low potential)

    2 – contributing independently – assumes responsibility for definable projects, relies less on supervision, builds strong network of relationships internally, masters technical skills

    3 – contributing through others – stimulates others through ideas and knowledge, functions as a coach, mentor or idea leader, develops relationship network externally too

    4 – contributing strategically – provides direction to the organisation, defines or drives critical business opportunities and needs

    This is just a very brief snapshot – I hope you get the idea. You can get reprints of the article from the ASTD for a few dollars.

    Also have a look at the tools available from the Lomax Corp in US – (I think!).

    Best wishes,


  2. Compare to new role
    My view tends to be more simplistic than Martin’s. Compare the prospective promotee to the requirements of the role to be filled, just as you would if you were filling the role externally. using robust interview standards (Desirable, essential)a matrix can be created. No one is going to fulfill all aspects of new role but I think the questions to be asked are “Would I employ this person in this role if they were an external applicant?” “If not, does their company knowledge provide sufficient support to their application to give them the role?”
    If the answer is no then I think it is a potential pandora’s box to give them the role.
    I would suggest using standard interview techniques and apply them robustly.
    Feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss this further at

    Good luck


  3. Learn from a successful company?
    I’m not sure that there are any hard and fast criteria for promotional readiness but SEMCO (world famous for business success and very low levels of staff turnover) use the principle that if an internal applicant meets 70% of the criteria that they would expect from an external applicant then they will promote the internal applicant on the grounds that they can learn the additional 30% of the role in about the same time as an external applicant would learn to “fit the culture” etc.

    This means that people are given genuine development opportunities internally and are able to achieve promotion that is otherwise denied them on the 100% fit basis – which almost always leads to an external hire. Semco have a staff turnover of less than 1% year on year and I believe this policy is one of the factors that leads to this achievement.


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