How to consider promoting members of your remote team

Written by Ben Richardson, Director of Development Academy

One of the most important elements that allows a business to continue growing and expanding is through the correct handling of employee progression with promotions and delegation of increased leadership responsibilities. Your most capable, ambitious employees will continue to seek these regardless of the external environment.

With many companies tackling a new remote working environment, in what is a very uncertain climate, employee development may have been understandably neglected. Now though, with some businesses committing to a permanent work-from-home system, there may be a lack of direction as to how to approach employee development and progression moving forward.

To help out, here are six of the most important things to consider with employee progression while remote working:

Reassess aspirations criteria and set clear goals

If your company had previously set criteria for employees to aspire to in order to advance, revisit these performance indicators and ensure that they are still relevant in a remote working environment. Discuss these changes with your team to ensure everybody is on the same page and that each person has a clear goal to aim for.

Remember the work done before the pandemic

It may seem like a lifetime ago, but before the virus struck there will have been certain employees who had been continually developing their skills. Although the handling of the transition to remote will be a key factor to consider, do not treat it as a completely clean slate and consider the efforts made prior to the lockdown when evaluating employee performance.

Regular one-to-one meetings

In the office there will likely have been regular performance meetings to review each employee’s progress, allowing you to find out how they are finding the work and to discuss which areas may need improving. Keep these meetings going and use them to discuss how they are finding the transition, what their aspirations are and be as clear and honest as possible about the prospects of a promotion. You may need to think about the cadence of these meetings. If you are now all working from home then you may want to think about more frequent but shorter meetings.

Quality over quantity

This was an issue that became immediately apparent when companies began working remotely for the first time. With the always-on culture it became easier than ever to continue working outside of set hours. While this does show commitment and conscientiousness, it is important to control this behaviour. Long-term you may have issues with the quality of work being provided and also employee burn-out and churn.

Don’t forget established training courses

With the change in working environment and processes, it may be tempting to rush a decision and promote a candidate to a higher role before they have undergone the necessary training. Take a look at your company’s existing training programmes, such as leadership courses and ensure that the candidate is sufficiently prepared to avoid a ‘fish out of water’ situation when promoted to a role with increased responsibility.

Consider new courses for your team

While your company’s established training programme must not be neglected, a remote working environment presents new opportunities and challenges. Take a moment to consider how each role has changed and how best to prepare an employee for dealing with this change by incorporating relevant courses to build on new skills.