5 Powerful Ways To Provide Opportunities Beyond Promotions

Performance

November 27, 2019

Kudos

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5 min

An employee’s decision to join an organization may not hinge solely on salary. A lack of advancement and development opportunities could drive them away.

5 Powerful Ways To Provide Opportunities Beyond Promotions
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In today’s modern workplace, many organizations are made up of several generations of workers: baby boomers, gen x'ers, millennials, and gen z’ers.

Some employees may feel they have no opportunity for advancement, while others may be getting ready to retire or take on a different role.

A widely held belief by many organizations is that employees are motivated exclusively by money, but a recent study by LinkedIn finds this is not the case.

According to the study, 48% of baby boomers value making an impact over salary and titles, and 30% of millennials and 38% of gen x’ers agree.

Gallup also finds that 45% of millennials are more likely to prioritize roles with development and advancement opportunities. Ceridian echoes that sentiment, finding that 83% of employees whose organizations provide them with development and advancement opportunities are more likely to remain in their existing jobs.

"Consider organizational culture, recognition, work-life balance, flexible working options, salary, benefits, or learning and development. These are all key elements of a role where employees can still benefit from working with you – beyond promotions and raises"

An employee’s decision to join an organization may not hinge solely on salary. A lack of advancement and development opportunities could drive them away.  

51% of companies are shifting their priorities to develop future-focused people strategies.

So, what happens when there are no promotion opportunities?

How do you keep employees motivated and engaged to prevent them from jumping ship?

Make them an offer they can’t refuse

If an employee believes a role is a good fit but does not see room for growth, no number of raises or annual bonuses is going to keep them on board.

You have to make employees an offer they can’t refuse.

While studies show that promotions are a highly effective motivator, not every organization can offer employees regular promotions – or any promotion at all. Some companies are large enough that they can create new roles or offer advancement. On the other hand, startups and mid-sized businesses may not have the same capacity.

If an employee’s role has the right elements and opportunities for personal and professional growth, the promise of a promotion may not be your only chance to keep them on board.  

Consider organizational culture, recognition, work-life balance, flexible working options, salary, benefits, or learning and development. These are all key elements of a role where employees can still benefit from working with you – beyond promotions and raises.

Encourage employees to master their skills

In his book, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” author Daniel H. Pink relates that we are all motivated by three things: autonomy, purpose, and mastery.

In many cases, employees can improve their skills by working with others in their environment, or on new tasks and projects. But that doesn’t indicate employees are developing new skills, expertise, or knowledge.

"A widely held belief by many organizations is that employees are motivated exclusively by money"

If a promotion isn’t possible, consider the three elements mentioned above.

Autonomy -employees crave autonomy, control over their own work, and the results of their efforts. By allowing employees to take the reins, leaders can build a more trusting and productive culture. This may boost engagement and job satisfaction, too.

Purpose - without purpose, employees can quickly become disengaged and dispassionate about their work. The key is to remind employees of how they contribute to organizational success.

Mastery - learning and development is a key motivator in someone’s decision to accept or reject a role. Provide your employees with opportunities to hone their skills, but don’t forget to support them and allow them to apply what they learn to new tasks.

Focus on experiences rather than roles

By nature, we aren’t job hoppers. We would prefer to find a role we can learn, grow, and develop in. But without a shot at a promotion, most employees change jobs. Some even migrate to different companies in search of greener pastures.

Now, a vast majority of companies are focusing on experiences to attract talent to their companies.

Sharing experiences like training opportunities, remote work options, mentorship, and travel only makes promising candidates more interested in your offer.

Determine what type of experiences your organization can offer prospective employees by asking existing ones. Gather feedback from your existing teams, so you can attract talent that will be a good fit.

Encourage knowledge sharing and exploration within your organization

More organizations are offering promotions without salary increases or raises, so a common solution is to provide lateral promotions.

A lateral move or promotion means the employee is offered a role with a similar level of responsibility, autonomy and pay-scale as their current role. Lateral promotions may provide employees with the opportunity to join a new department and learn new skills, but not all employees may see it that way.

When a promotion is not an option, give employees the opportunity to work with different teams in your organization or join special projects with other departments.

In doing so, you’re giving them the chance to share knowledge, tackle new tasks, and improve their skills. When a promotion is available, they’ll be ready for the challenge.

Knowledge sharing is important for organizations because it encourages collaboration and ideation. Employees can learn from one another, be exposed to more elements of your organization and expand their learning. Knowledge sharing prepares your employees to take on additional responsibility.

Practice recognition every day

Promotions signal to employees that their work, dedication and efforts are recognized and rewarded. But, promotions and pay raises aren’t the only way to motivate employees. When promotions aren’t feasible for your organization, recognition can truly save the day.

Recognition is a simple act that helps foster security and loyalty. Only 15% of employees agree that their leaders make them enthusiastic about their future, but recognizing your employees can improve this statistic.

"An employee’s decision to join an organization may not hinge solely on salary. A lack of advancement and development opportunities could drive them away"

Recognition encourages employees to voice their opinions and ideas because it builds trust in leadership and colleagues. When employees feel their input and honesty is valued, they grow more enthusiastic about your company. You may find that recognizing your employees fuels them to contribute their best work and take initiative.

BONUS: Make work fun. Yes, fun.

A thriving organizational culture is key for positive employee experience and engagement. Part of a strong culture is incorporating a little fun into your everyday operations.

Many startups will incorporate fun into their everyday workplace culture, but not every organization can rely on ping pong tables to make work fun.

Without a fun-loving culture, many employees may view their jobs as nothing more than something they do from 9am-5pm, five days a week.

There are a few simple ways you can make your workplace fun and contribute to the overall employee experience and culture in your organization:

  • Consider weekly lunches in or outside of the office to have a meal together, interact, and spend some time away from the desk    
  • Plan weekly team activities like fitness classes, or co-working at the local coffee shop for a few hours    
  • Run quarterly ‘competitions’ at work so employees can flex their skills and work together. For example, challenge your teams to create a new product prototype or create a new service offering. Let the winning team(s) choose their prize  
  • Send weekly newsletters with appropriate humour and include tips, tricks, or events submitted by fellow employees

About Kudos

Kudos is an employee engagement, culture, and analytics platform, that harnesses the power of peer-to-peer recognition, values reinforcement, and open communication to help organizations boost employee engagement, reduce turnover, improve culture, and drive productivity and performance. Kudos uses unique proprietary methodologies to deliver essential people analytics on culture, performance, equity, and inclusion, providing organizations with deep insights and a clear understanding of their workforce.

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