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3 minute read

You vs Your Colleagues: How to Handle Internal Promotions

When gunning for an internal promotion, how you conduct yourself before, during and after the process can have lasting impacts on team cohesion and how your colleagues and manager perceive you. Here’s how you can graciously put your best foot forward.

The benefits of internal promotions

Employers often prefer to promote internally instead of pursuing external hires, as it can boost employee morale and engagement. Successful internal promotions are testaments to the growth and advancement opportunities within the organisation, motivating employees to perform at their best and invest in their career growth.

With internal promotions, there is a shorter learning curve and faster integration into the new role as compared to external hiring. Internal candidates’ familiarity with the company culture, processes, and values reduces the time required for training and adapting to the new role.

Internal hiring also ensures continuity and stability within the business. Employers can maintain consistency in decision-making, knowledge transfer, employee development and succession planning by promoting employees who have already demonstrated their capabilities and understanding of the company’s operations.

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Put your best foot forward for the promotion

When an opportunity for an internal promotion arises, you and your colleagues may inevitably be vying for the same role. This can result in some awkwardness, but should not stop you from putting your best foot forward.

It is crucial that you do not compare yourself to your colleagues, and avoid downplaying your capabilities. To clinch the role, ensure you focus on highlighting your key achievements and abilities to demonstrate that you’re the right person for the promotion.

Like any other job interview, planning is key: make sure to prepare the relevant talking points that showcase your contribution to the company and aptitude to take on the new role and its responsibilities. It also helps to prepare some questions to better understand the next steps in the hiring process and anything else that will help you determine if this opportunity is right for you.

If you get the promotion

Congratulations on getting the role! It is now important to be gracious and sensitive to your co-workers. This doesn’t mean you should pity them or make a show of consoling them – instead, phrase your words tactfully to avoid coming across as condescending or insincere.

A good approach would be to send an email to the entire team (after the official announcement of your promotion) thanking management for this new opportunity and acknowledging that you were up against strong competition – and that you look forward to working together to achieve success.

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If you miss out on internal promotions

Disappointing as it might be, don’t let this affect your performance in your current role. Instead, leverage the opportunity to seek feedback on why you weren’t selected, for a clearer idea of the skills or experiences you need to build up to become a viable candidate. From there, you can speak with your manager to discuss potential opportunities for you to gain this additional experience. You could even structure a promotion timeline to regularly check-in and ensure you’re on the right path.

If your current role or company does not offer any immediate future growth opportunities, you might need to be extra proactive about internal promotion opportunities at specific times of the year. Otherwise, you may have to consider a new job at another company if your current one cannot provide you with professional growth opportunities within a reasonable period.

Remember to acknowledge your efforts, especially if you had made it to the shortlist of the final two or three candidates! This achievement can be a great motivator that spurs you to focus on what’s important for you to work on right now, to be successful in the next internal promotion.

This article is contributed by Michael Page.

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