Example promotion guidelines

Employee Advancement Guidelines

This is our approach for advancing and promoting employees from within our company. We want to engage and develop our employees by recognising and investing in those who perform well with opportunities to learn and advance their careers within the company.

This guide includes the process followed when advancing employees. The People Team will communicate this guide to all employees to avoid confusion about who should be promoted, how advancement opportunities should be pursued internally, and when.


This guide applies to all employees. An employee is a permanent, salaried employee.Promotion opportunities exist in many, but not all functions, in IC and Manager levels 1-4.

Employees may be promoted after:

  • they have been successful in their current role
  • have clearly demonstrated through their skill and contribution levels that they are ready to advance to the next level of responsibility
  • there is a business case for the higher skill level in the department, and
  • they are not under a performance improvement plan.

It would be unusual to be promoted within the first six months of being in a role.

A “promotion” may mean moving to a higher Job Level within the same path e.g. moving from an IC3to IC4 (IC being individual contributor), or indeed moving into the people manager path from an IC4to an M4 for example. A promotion comes with additional responsibilities, accountability and dependent upon which track, managerial responsibilities. All promotions are designed to help employees develop and grow and should be decided upon using the Acme Ltd Career Framework and criteria as set out below. Employees may be promoted within the same or another department or branch.

Promotions do not necessarily happen for roles every year, as they require the combination of individual readiness and business requirement. The skills and experience required to move from one job level to another can take more than a year to develop and managers should take this into account when talking with their direct reports about their career goals and/or aspirations for a promotion and in partnership with their direct report a career plan for them using the Acme Ltd CareerFramework. We want to encourage individuals to own their own personal development/career path.

At IC, Managerial, and Executive levels 5 and above, advancement opportunities most frequently occur as internal hires into open positions due to growth or succession. Our goal is to engage and retain our most capable and highest performing talents through offering differentiated advancement experiences within and across Acme Ltd.

All of our role openings are available on our Careers Page and we welcome all internal applicants.

Our philosophy on promotions:

  • Promote based on performance, not based on potential. Team members should be already demonstrating ability at the next level prior to promotion.
  • Career growth should be a partnership between the individual and manager. As a manager, it is important to create space to regularly discuss your team members' development and career aspirations, and identify opportunities to support them in their advancement and growth. If you as a team member feel you are approaching readiness for advancement opportunities, it is encouraged for you to initiate this conversation with your manager.
  • When reviewing a proposed promotion, Managers and People Partners should consider:
    1. Readiness of the individual and;
    2. Business need/opportunity

Criteria for Promotion

Promotions are based on the individual's performance and demonstrating our values, behaviours and conduct.

Acceptable criteria for promotion are:

  • Experience in the role
  • Evidence based, consistently high performance
  • Skillset that matches the minimum requirements of the new role
  • Personal motivation and willingness for a change in responsibilities

These criteria reflect the employees work over a sustained period of time rather than exceptions or ancient history. Managers should avoid making decisions for promotion based on recent or insignificant events. They should keep records of occasions that they might want to reference as examples of exemplary performance or development needs when it’s time to promote a member of their team.

We will not support promotions that are based on Manager’s subjective opinions unsupported by evidence of high, consistent performance in the current role and evidence that they are already demonstrating that they can perform at the level expected of the new role.

When can managers consider employees for promotion?

Promotions may normally occur twice a year; July & January which falls in line with our performance review process. There can of course be occasions outside of this bi-annual promotions cadence, but that will be an exception to the rule.

For example when:

  • A job opening is advertised internally as well as externally and the individual is successful through the internal interview process
  • As we continue to grow, a position may open unexpectedly and Acme Ltd wants to fill from within
  • There is a critical business need. The relevant Exco lead with their People Partner, would determine if the reason is business-critical.

Managers should follow this process:

  1. Meet with their direct reports to talk about their career goals and/or aspirations for a promotion and create a career plan with them using the Acme Ltd Career Framework
  2. Identify high performance and individuals that fit the criteria for promotion as outlined above
  3. When considering someone for promotion you should discuss and work closely with your People Partner and gain required approvals in advance of any discussions with others to avoid establishing commitments you lack the authority to make on behalf of Acme Ltd.

The manager will need to do some upfront work:

Provide an accurate up to date Job Description of the role

  • Gather feedback: Managers should gather feedback on the individual. This can be from people they work closely within their team, peers, managers or different department members that they have worked with recently. Feedback should be based on not only performance, but how well the individual works with others, attitude, behaviour and do they live our values - these should all be taken into consideration, especially if they are moving into the people management track.
  • Provide evidence of high, consistent performance in the current role and evidence that they are already demonstrating that they can perform at the level expected of the new role.

Your People Partner together with you will

  • Work closely on job levelling and salary benchmarking, and if applicable the awarding of additional options for the role and assist with the promotion plan and effective date.
  • The People Partner will also look at the suitability of the individual for promotion and once you have both agreed, the promotion plan should then be shared and discussed with your manager/budget holder/Exco to ensure alignment
  • They will also use this opportunity to discuss and review your team structure to ensure we have enough of the right levels to carry out effective, high performance across the whole team whilst ensuring there are progression paths available for team members,(for example do we have a lot of IC2s & IC4s but few or no IC3s?) and look at any gaps and working with the manager develop a good, strong, future team structure.

  1. The budget holder will also need to approve the promotion
  2. Managers should then share the great news with the individual!
  3. The next step would be for the manager to confirm via email to peopleops@Acme Ltd.com the following:
    • Following discussions with [XX insert Manager/Exco name] and [XX insert People Partner name], the following promotion is approved and I would be grateful if you could process as follows and confirm in writing to [XX employee being promoted name].
      • Employee Name:
      • Change Type:
      • Title:
      • Department:
      • Job Level:
      • Job Family:
      • AON Code:
      • Probation:
      • Notice Period:
      • Salary:
      • Bonus:
      • Reporting to:
      • Effective date:

Once the PeopleOps team have confirmed all details to the employee in writing, they will be added to the next payroll cycle, their details updated in HiBob and copies of all documentation will be filed in our Single Source of Truth, HiBob.

Communicating a Promotion to the rest of the Business

The final stage in the process is to announce the promotion to the company. Before announcing it company-wide, managers should meet with their team first as they are the ones who will be most affected by this change.It is important to make a big deal out of internal advancement and to clearly communicate when employees are growing in their careers and making bigger contributions in the business. This will help demonstrate to other employees what can be earned through commitment to learning, performance, and living the values.

The best place to make the announcement is in Slack #general channel. Managers should include:

  • The reasons behind the promotion
  • A congratulation to the person and a show of support
  • A summary of the employee’s old and new role
  • A summary of their achievements
  • An encouragement for everyone to congratulate the employee

Career Development Outside of Promotion

Not all role changes are promotions or come with a salary increase. Managers may choose to expand an employee’s duties within their role as part of the individual's personal growth & development plan. For example, they may ask an individual who lacks confidence to run team meetings or retros in order for them to gain confidence and experience to allow them ultimately to move up to the next level.

These changes may not always come with a formal title change, or salary increase, but the manager should keep a record as this can be used to provide evidence when it comes time for a promotion.

This document is owned by the People Team. If you have any feedback, or questions please reach out to us via peopleops@Acme Ltd.comThis is V1.3 (May 2022) and will be reviewed and updated at least annually