How we assess progression

Career progression is employee led

No matter your role or level, everyone can use the framework to review, reflect and learn. We're all striving to learn and further our individual development, team success, and in turn company growth.

However, it's important for us to recognise that it isn't your manager/lead who is responsible for your development.

Below is a good way to think about the interconnected relationship between the team member, manager and company in order to make development happen!

Employee commitment
  • It is driven by you, the individual team member.
  • You work with your manager to determine what areas you need to develop in line with your goals and the business needs.
  • Others will support, but no one will ever be more invested in your own career advancement and growth than you are!
Manager/Leader commitment
  • To ensure that each direct report is recognised at the most accurate level assessing evidence against the framework.
  • To take the time to understand each team member’s personality, ambitions and career goals and coach and advise development.
  • While employees are in principle free to choose their own path, there may be times when managers will need to step in and guide them more firmly, either due to business reasons or the fact there are blind spots that the team member has not identified.
Company commitment
  • Once you’ve identified areas to develop and grow, as a company we will identify how we can support these goals through a combination of experience, exposure, and/or education.

Toggle to read more about this in the analogy here
  • The employee is the mountaineer, who must dedicate time and effort to progressing and completing their end goal. They own this and no one else. They have decided to climb the mountain, so must be prepared to put in some hard work in order to complete their goal.
  • The progression framework is the map to get an employee from base camp (current level of their career) to the top of the mountain (career end point). It won't provide them with the precise route and coordinates, but an idea on what to do to get there. They will need to put the training and effort in, just as you would with climbing a mountain.
  • The managers role is to act as the sherpa, guiding them, making sure they don't fall off a cliff or go down a path that doesn't lead anywhere. They won't carry them to the top but will give them advice that they have learnt over the years navigating the same journey, so that the employee doesn't make the same mistakes.
  • The company is there to support both the individual and the manager, providing the best environment and tools (boots, ropes etc) for completing the journey.

We review levels twice per calendar year

This gives individuals two opportunities to have a review of their level, depending on when they started and when their last review took place.

Although a formal assessment of levels is made every 6 months, it is very unlikely to change level or sub-levels at every 6 month review. Professional development is an ongoing conversation and you and your manager should regularly look at your progression, level and what you are doing to move towards the next level and not wait for the bi-annual reviews.


  1. June review
  2. January review

Mastering a level & moving up...

While you're in a level, there will be evidence-backed discussions with your manager on your growth within that level. A level will need to be mastered, and evidence demonstrated of being comfortable to develop in the competencies required in the next level, in order to be successful moving up.

Levels are also cumulative — we expect you to be demonstrating the contents of previous levels in addition to your current level, together with performing a significant percentage of the responsibilities of the level above. We need to see that you can sustain your performance at the level above before we make any changes.

As a general guide, you will need to be performing these skills and tasks:

  • Consistently (reliably and evenly)
  • Continuously (for a reasonable period of time as determined by you and your manager)
  • Comfortably (without showing signs of being overly stretched eg working constant overtime, displaying signs of stress, delivering on some priorities while dropping others)

If you and your manager agree that you’re nailing the all of the above in your next level, then that would indicate a readiness to step into that role and be officially promoted.

It won’t be perfect and that’s totally fine!

Career growth is almost never completely linear — and there are plenty of grey areas that can’t be neatly accounted for without adding nuance to the framework. Therefore we expect that team members will demonstrate skills at different levels.

Remember, the framework is not a checklist, it’s a guideline, and small deviations are to be expected. If overall growth is visible, such deviations should not stand in the way of promotions.

Large deviations are a great way to frame a development conversation. Recognising the areas where you are not nailing the level above will give both you and your manager greater clarity when setting a development plan and goal setting in order to improve, level up and be promoted

Sub-levels are a useful way to determine where you sit in a level. INSERT LINK FOR MORE INFO ON SUB-LEVELS.

In the example below, the individual needs to work on ‘How I prioritise’ in order be eligible for a promotion to IC2.

IC1 (current level)
How I connect & communicate
How I solve problems and make decisions
How I support hiring new members
How I prioritise
- -

Charting your progress

Templates will be available for both team members and managers to use as reflection-and-review tools within a level to anchor discussions in a meaningful way and when you’re ready, your manager will recommend you for an official promotion to the leadership team during the next level review (more details on this in the FAQs below).

Here is a link to a template to use to chart progress.

Some important things to consider

Not every team has a full path to level 6. Levels are based on business need.
  • While you might be ready to step up or across into a new role, this will likely only be possible if the role exists within CLIENT NAME. Organisational realities may impact your career growth: you may be a fantastic Director of Engineering pushing for the next level, but you will not become VP unless there is a vacant VP position or need to create one. Our hope is that this framework will make it easier to have these conversations with your manager about how to scale your role.
  • If a role doesn’t exist then you shouldn’t stop developing, learning and growing in your role at CLIENT NAME. Work with your manager to identify the skills and behaviours to develop and put you in a strong position when a role does open. If a role doesn’t open, then we’ll support you in whatever decision you take, which includes helping you find the right role outside of CLIENT NAME.
Exceptions to the rule - Out of cycle promotions
  • In between the 6 month review points: Promotions may also occur when a position opens unexpectedly and CLIENT NAME wants to fill it from within i.e. someone leaving the business or a change in the business org structure.



How often should I be using the framework?

Use the framework at a frequency that works for you

  • Even though we have twice yearly check ins where we review everyone’s level, the framework should be used much more regularly than this.
  • We don’t want this to become something that is dusted off the shelf one week before the 6 month review and become a game where there are only two high stake opportunities to demonstrate progress within a level.
  • Employees and Managers should be using the framework together at regularly scheduled check-ins, whether that be monthly or quarterly (we’re not too descriptive here and you should talk about what works best with your manager).

We recommend using sub-levels to shape on going progression conversations

We have sub-levels 0, 1 and 2 to distinguish how someone is developing within a level. This area of discussion that's most likely to relate to a more granular personal development plan and regular conversations with your manager around how to master a level effectively.

The industry terminology used for sub-levels is called 'task relevant maturity' or TRM (for more information on TRM, see here).

To determine a person’s sub-level we ask ourselves: “How established are you in the role?”

0 = New

  • Learning the skills and responsibilities
  • Is this person still learning this skills?
  • New to that level or the company, requires more direction

1 = Established

  • Matching the skills and responsibilities
  • Is this person "doing" without needing any support or supervision?
  • Strong experience at that level, takes on delegation
  • Starting to take on c.50% of the level above

2 = Advanced

  • Exceeding the skills and responsibilities
  • Is this person an expert in this skills and could be teaching it to others?
  • Excelling at that level, pushing to develop
  • Comfortable with c.80% in the level above
Where should I record my personal development plan?

Recording what you want to do

I think I’m ready to be promoted. What happens?
  • Managers are responsible for regularly assessing progression potential across their direct reports. You’ll both know when you’re ready for a promotion. If you’re ready, your manager will:
    • Share the proposal with their manager (who has overall responsibility or significant influence on your team). They can act as a sounding board and will be the first point of approval.
    • Share your proposal with the people team for visibility ahead of the formal review process.
  • A progression proposal should include:
    • A clear articulation of why an individual has demonstrated the required impact for a change in level (core skills, craft skills and behavioural evidence).
    • Supporting plans to further develop this person into their new role. They should already be playing this role (if fair and feasible) before being promoted, however consideration to furthering their growth is important
    • Anything else that should be considered (impact on rest of team, need to hire replacement, etc)

Are skills/behaviours weighted / are some competencies more important than others?
  • No, they are not weighted. No skill or behaviours is more important than any other.
Do I need to meet all of the skills and behaviours?
  • No. The descriptions define what is expected at a particular level, and you should be striving to meet as many of them as possible. However sometimes it may not be possible to meet certain expectations in your current role due to capacity or organisational constraints.
    • For example, mentoring opportunities might not exist so it’s difficult for someone to meet this particular skill. In this case the line manager should try to find opportunities for the direct report to do so or something that is of similar complexity and scope.
Can I switch tracks i.e. IC to Manager?
  • Many careers do not involve a strictly continuous upward trajectory, so the framework should not be strictly seen as a ‘ladder’. You may want to move laterally and switch tracks - IC to People Management or vice versa.
  • Typically the expectation is that you start at the level below where you currently sit (your salary won’t drop.) For example, you could be a IC5 and then decide that you may like to explore people management. In this case you will start to hone your people management skills at a M4 level.

Can I switch roles?
  • If you change roles by moving up within the same department, this will be planned for and part of natural progression.
  • If you're changing to a different role in the same department, it's likely you will already have built key competencies the department needs, but it's possible that training in a different role may mean that you need more time in a particular level.
  • If you are moving into a completely different job family/department, let's say from sales to people operations, then it could result in level adjustment because you are moving into a different career path/track to meet your long term goals.

Can I switch teams?
  • In some cases you swap teams completely. In this case you may stay on the same level, however start at TRM of ‘0’ as you are new to that level.
  • For example with a Sales Associate moving to a Marketing Associate, there are a lot of transferable skills and knowledge, so the level will probably stay the same.
  • If you are moving into a completely different job family/department, let's say from sales to people operations, then it could result in level adjustment because you are moving into a different career path/track to meet your long term goals.
  • Read more about the ‘Ways a Lateral Move Can Benefit Your Career’ here.

How do levels and job title work?

We believe that job titles typically serve three purposes:

  1. Helping people understand that they are progressing
  2. Clarifying someone’s role within the business i.e. are they a People Manager or Individual Contributor?
  3. Communicating an expected skill, scope and responsibility level to others

There may be some variations in titles across departments depending on what is relevant for the function in the broader market (e.g. Account Executive for Sales). However, the level structure will be consistent across the organisation.

Why do some roles have 'manager' in their title, but they are not actually managing teams?

There are certain roles that are recognised by a specific title in the market which may not be consistent with our internal framework and nomenclature.

If a role is typically called 'manager' in the market, it may mean they manage an area or 'thing,' such as a Product Manager overseeing product development efforts, or an 'Account Manager' overseeing account relationships.

In these instances, a less experienced IC has this 'market-wide' manager title. However, their level internally will be consistent with the company-wide framework.

How quickly can I move up levels?
  • We know how ambitious you are, but you shouldn't expect to receive a change in title year on year - We know that this was quite common back in the early days, but we're maturing as a business and so must our approach to these kinds of things! Everyone receiving a change in title and pay year on year really isn't sustainable.
  • Whilst there is no prescriptive or magic number in terms of 'time' bound to each master each level, we cannot write off the concept of 'time' altogether. Everyone may progress at different rates based on responsiveness to training, natural abilities and behaviours. Additionally, there will be an element of 'mastery' needed in each level, demonstrating skills both 'consistently' and 'independently' to progress into the level above, and this is going to take 'time'. In this sense, 'time' is equivalent to 'building up experience'.
  • A straightforward framework, without lots of levels, can create a perception that we can 'whizz' up to a VP in a couple of years, but the reality is, the competencies expected as we go up the levels are more complex and therefore take longer to master and excel in. What this means is that progression can be relatively swift for some people early on in their careers, but then starts to take a longer 'time' to master than you were used to before, as behaviours and skills take more practice, training, reflection when interfacing across all levels in a business in the more senior stages of your career.
  • There is a career's worth of progression in our framework, and a framework is meant to demonstrate a lifetime of progression in the career 'market'. As you progress in your career, the frequency at which you are promoted will decrease and it’s likely to look something like this graph below.
  • Everyone’s different, and there will always be people who race through or take longer. That being said if progress is super slow, then it will help identify when things aren’t going well (if someone hasn’t progressed beyond junior in 5 years for example).


What if I'm happy in my level and don't want to take on additional responsibilities?
  • The framework isn't designed to be a ladder that you need to climb. It is to help everyone have clarity on expectations for their own and other roles. It shows possible paths for progression.
  • If you are happy in your existing role and level, that is great and you can work with your manager to ensure it keeps going well.

How will the progression framework fit in with our performance process?
  • Meaningful peer feedback can be crafted and tied directly to the expectations at a particular level, so that everyone can be held to the same high bar at each level.
  • As this is a generic framework, anyone should be able to use it to both solicit and give feedback.

Who is in charge of maintaining the framework?
  • A group of people across all departments are part of the The Progression Working Group - read more about them here

Manager FAQs

If I am on the Manager track, do I need to do everything at an IC level as well?
  • As a People Manager, the amount of IC work you do, will decrease, however you will be expected to perform some IC work, especially if you’re building out your team. As a rule, the higher up the management track you go, the lower the % of IC work will be required.
  • You’ll be spending more time on hiring, developing and leading your team and less time on actual direct delivery yourself. That being said this is dependent on your team size. Below are a few examples of how team size and experience effects the breakdown of your IC and people management responsibilities:
    • 5 x IC1 reports who have little experience = 75% People management + 25% IC work
    • 2 x IC4 reports with lots experience = 15% People management + 85% IC work

I switched to being a manager and don’t really like it. Can I switch back?
  • We also support people switching back to being an IC (whether reasonably soon after trying out manager responsibilities, or a lot later), but we’d recommend you commit to at a year in a management role. It takes time to build relationships and learn how to be a great manager, which isn’t really possible to do over a few months.
Would an M3 manage an IC4?
  • No. A M3 is still navigating the early days of being a manager and won’t have the experience required to manage someone more senior and strategic than them.
  • By the time you move into a M4 or M5 management role then it is likely that you’ll be managing ICs more senior than you i.e. IC5 and IC6 as you will have acquired the necessary skills, scope and responsibilities by this level.

New joiner FAQs

What are the expectations for new joiners?
  • You won't be expected to participate in our company-wide evaluations if you've had an onboarding (probation) evaluation within three months of the evaluations start date.
  • For example, if you had your three-month onboarding review in May, you wouldn't participate in our July evaluations.
  • Equally, if you haven't had your onboarding review yet, you won't be expected to participate in our company-wide evaluations.
  • Unless we've got something seriously wrong, you shouldn't expect to have a promotion until at least a year on the job. Your role shouldn't change that dramatically within one year. Of course, there may be exceptions, which we review on a case by case basis.

I’m a new joiner, what’s my level and sub-level?
  • During the interview process we’ll talk to you about the level you’re being assessed at and the salary bands for that level and role. This will also be re-communicated during the offer process and during your onboarding as well.
  • Regardless of prior experience, a new hire always starts with a sub-level of '0' as they are new to the business. Once your manager has had a chance to assess the you closely in a working environment then you may well then jump through the sub-levels quickly i.e. moving from 'new' (0) to 'pushing for the next level' (2) if it’s clear that you’re nailing your level.

Compensation FAQs

Does a change in level always mean a change in salary?
  • In most cases it will, but not necessarily. It depends on the benchmark for the new level and your current salary.

Does a change in sub-level mean a change in salary?
  • Possibly. It all depends on your current sub-level and where you are currently being paid in your current level
  • The sub-levels determine the salary band for a level. Below is a example of this:
    • New = £30,000
    • Established = £35,000
    • Advanced = £40,000..
  • If you are ‘New’ to a role but being paid at £35,000, then moving from ‘New’ to ‘Established’ will probably not result in an increase in salary.

Does a change in role mean a change in salary?
  • Often it will, but not necessarily. It depends on the benchmark for the new role and your current salary and level.
  • There may be instances where you move to a new role where there is a gap between what you earn now and the market-based salary range. When deciding on your starting pay and, any subsequent, associated reviews, we’ll consider several factors including:
    • The degree to which you could carry out the new role, from day one, with the same level of competence as an externally recruited person who had been assessed as having job-appropriate skills, abilities qualifications, experiences and knowledge.
    • The extent to which you have been offered the job based on your past achievements and anticipated future potential, where we accept it will take you time to get to the minimum level of skills, qualification and competence we’d require from an external candidate.
    • If you start on a salary that is less than the advertised market range, there may be a phased increase in pay, over an agreed period. This will be discussed with you at the time, and we’ll be transparent on the timelines. Increases will be based on the development of your skills, abilities, experiences, qualifications (if appropriate) as well as behaviours and OKR performance.
  • Depending on the role and your starting point, it could involve multiple pay reviews.