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The Most Overlooked Retention Tool: Showing Employees the Future

by on
in HR Soapbox

managerWith the economy picking up again, smart HR professionals are asking this key question: Why do our employees leave ... and, more importantly, what makes them stay?

Amid the typical 3M reasons—money, motivation and manager quality—employers often miss out on a simple, no-cost way to keep employees happy and on the farm. How? Communicate your promotion policies and announce when workers are promoted.

Studies show that advancement and promotion opportunities improve employee engagement and motivation. Yet only 16% of organizations widely communicate their promotions and guidelines, according to a recent WorldatWork survey.

Unless employees can see and understand the path to promotion at your organization, they’re more likely to seek advancement outside of your walls.

 Announcing promotions: 5 tips

It’s important to spread the word about promotions—and make sure employees can see the path to get there. Use these guidelines to create announcements that provide concrete examples of what employees must do to get promoted:

1. Post announcements on the organization’s website and intranet, or send an email to employees. Include

announcements in company publications and on bulletin boards. Small companies can break the news verbally, preferably at a regular staff meeting. Holding a special meeting only to announce a promotion is tricky because it could smack of favoritism.promotions

2. Summarize the employee’s career path of positions and accomplishments that led to the promotion. This does three things: It provides examples of the standards employees must meet to be considered for promotion. It explains why a particular candidate landed a job. It helps prevent gossip surrounding the move.

3. Explain whether the promotion fills a current opening or is a new position. If it’s the latter, briefly review why the company created the slot. Summarize the new responsibilities.

4. Include a link to the company’s promotion guidelines online or refer employees to the appropriate page in a hard copy of the employee manual.

5. Congratulate employees and encourage others to do likewise. Express appreciation for the worker’s contribution to the company. Note: Advise key managers and staffers who are aware of the decision not to tell anyone before the announcement. Leaks can feed gossip and create skepticism about the promotion, which could muddy communication efforts.

Also, seek publicity if it’s appropriate. Send press releases to local media for executive positions and those with a public profile or that require community outreach.

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