A recent survey conducted by global leadership experts Right Management suggests that a straightforward approach of asking for a promotion could significantly increase an employee’s chances of being considered for advancement.

The survey, which involved over 2,000 employees and managers in the UK, highlighted some key insights into the promotion dynamics within organisations.

Surprisingly, more than a quarter (28%) of UK leaders confessed that they decide on promotions based on whether someone has asked for it. This direct approach appears to hold weight in decision-making processes. Lorraine Mills, Principal Consultant at Right Management, said, “Asking for a promotion or career development support may not guarantee an immediate advancement, but it certainly enhances the likelihood.”

Factors Influencing Promotions

The survey also revealed that a notable number of employees (18%) feel uncertain about the process of advancing their careers, while 24% expressed the need for clearer guidance on what steps to take to secure a promotion. Mills underscored the importance of straightforwardness in career aspirations, stating, “The adage ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’ holds true in professional settings, particularly amidst evolving workplace dynamics.”

Leadership decisions on promotions appear to vary, with a fraction (26%) basing their choices on whether they believe an individual will ‘fit in’. Additionally, 16% admit to making such decisions based on intuition or gut feeling. However, a reassuring majority (57%) rely on data concerning individuals’ skills and capabilities for promotion considerations.

Interestingly, longevity of service plays a significant role in promotion decisions, with 29% of leaders factoring in the number of years an employee has been with the company. This figure rises to a substantial 42% among sole leaders such as CEOs, founders, and business owners.

Ensuring Transparency and Fairness

Mills highlighted the necessity for transparent and evidence-based promotion practices within organisations. She emphasised the importance of leaders addressing any misconceptions among employees about the promotion criteria. Clear communication and a well-defined process, according to Mills, foster an inclusive and honest culture within a company, benefitting the business as a whole.

The survey signals the importance of open communication and clarity in the promotion process, urging leaders to adopt inclusive practices and evidence-based decision-making for the benefit of both employees and the organisation.