Publicizing Promotions

stk149211rkeIt’s nice to think that your highest-achieving, hardest-working employees are driven to excel in the name of meeting team goals, advancing the company’s mission, increasing market share and all of that good stuff.

And many of them are. That should be part of what pushes them, anyway.

We all know there needs to be something in it for them as well. The prospect of receiving a promotion is one obvious motivator, and employees want to know what’s required to reach the next rung on the company ladder. And from an employer standpoint, making sure workers understand how they can continue climbing is also a wonderful recruitment and retention tool.

Nevertheless, a recent survey from Scottsdale, Ariz.-based WorldatWork finds very few companies making serious efforts to convey promotional guidelines and policies to their workforces.

The survey of 873 HR, compensation and benefits managers found just 16 percent of respondents saying their organizations widely communicate such information to employees.

Companies neglecting to share parameters for employee promotions do so at their own peril, says Kerry Chou, practice leader with WorldatWork, in a statement announcing the findings.

Employers may be missing out on an opportunity to enhance [their] ability to attract, motivate and retain employees by not sharing general information about the guidelines or processes associated with promotions.”

While employers may be mostly hush-hush on promotional guidelines, the study finds organizations still finding room in the budget for programs supporting employee advancement, and respondents report promoting about 8 percent of employees in a typical year.

The survey also found the average promotional increase award to salaried employees in 2012 was 8.7 percent, compared to 8.3 percent in 2010. Officers and executives received an average promotional pay increase of 10.2 percent, versus a median jump of 9.5 percent two years ago.

Most responding companies (81 percent) defined a promotion by an increase in pay, band, grade or level, and/or the addition of higher-level responsibilities (76 percent).

Make special note of how most respondents defined a promotion: While nearly one in five organizations reported awarding promotions without salary increases, the importance of providing a bump in compensation shouldn’t be overlooked, says Chou. In other words, pay up when you promote.

While a bigger title and recognition from peers are nice, employees will usually not feel completely satisfied with a promotion unless there is a meaningful increase in base pay.”