I’m big on internal promotions. However, unfortunately I’ve witnessed that bogus situation of talented internal staff being overlooked many times, often because at best a bias of familiarity, at worst toxic office politics. This is something that has frustrated the hell out of me at times.
My thoughts are pretty simple on this, promoting people internally should be actively pursued without hesitation and that’s why I look to encourage a ‘1 up, 1 in’ policy in which wherever possible we look to promote someone internally in tandem with bring a new face and fresh ideas into the organisation. Healthy balance.
Earlier this year we promoted 8 people into what we call engineering managers, others may call them team leads or technical leads. These are our staff who help run product delivery teams (designers, product managers, architects, engineers, testers etc) writing our products and often having come from a software engineering background (although not always).
Even in these difficult covid-19 times we are expanding our workforce and recently we opened up 3 new senior engineering manager roles, staff who have the aforementioned engineering managers reporting into them.
Interestingly 2 of the 8 engineering managers who were promoted earlier in the year were re-promoted up into these new senior engineering manager roles. Awesome outcome! For me, that’s good a pretty good litmus test of whether internal promotion is a starter.
Any placement absolutely has to be warranted and be rooted in character and talent, internal promotions included. That said, support for internal promotions should be on the must do list, not on the should do list.
Wherever possible I’m looking for 1 up & 1 in promotional pairs, creating opportunities, rewarding and acknowledging awesome staff and freshening up the team with an equal balance of new staff. As leaders if we aren’t going to do this, who is?