For ambitious jobseekers, the possibility of earning a promotion is a major source of motivation in the workplace as it represents a step-up in responsibility and salary. However, securing a promotion can be challenging in an environment where competition for senior roles can be high. Indeed, new independent research commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half found two in three (65%) Hong Kong business leaders have denied a promotion to an employee in the past three years.
With awarding promotions akin to acknowledging hard work and offering a vote of confidence in working style and strategic capabilities, business leaders meticulously look for a range of skills when considering candidates for promotion. According to the research, a lack of leadership potential was cited by almost half of respondents (46%) as the top reason for denying a promotion. Other reasons include lack of experience (43%), lack of soft skills (42%), lack of technical skills (38%) and the availability of a more qualified internal (23%) or external candidate (7%).
From decreased morale to dwindling motivation, it is apparent Hong Kong business leaders recognise the potential negative impacts of denying promotions to employees. Consequently, business leaders are implementing several measures to keep employees motivated. Almost half (46%) have let employees work within a different team while 42% have given an employee a unique project to work on. Other common measures include allowing employees to shadow other employees (37%), delegating responsibilities (34%), and respectively calling for their input in challenging situations and providing training opportunities (21%).
Elaine Lam, Associate Director of Robert Half Hong Kong says “While being offered a promotion is an incredibly rewarding experience, failure to secure a promotion can demotivate employees, and make them lose their enthusiasm and confidence in their role and professional abilities. This is why employers need to take the necessary measures to make sure those team members still feel sufficiently engaged and motivated in their role by for example providing them with exciting projects, new responsibilities or other team members to work with.”
“Being denied a promotion is undoubtedly a disappointing experience but that doesn’t mean there won’t be more career progression opportunities in the future. Because of this, employees must recognise the importance of resilience in the face of disappointment and maintain motivation and continuous improvement on their path to eventually achieving their goals. If employees feel their chances of climbing the career ladder are limited or non-existent at their current company, it might be time for them to consider other employment options.”
To be eligible for a promotion, you’ll have to show you’re capable of taking on greater responsibility and new challenges. So don’t be afraid to demonstrate a willingness to go beyond your minimum role requirements and duties.
Explore training opportunities offered by your employer and partake in any programs that may be relevant to your existing or future employment. This can also show the type of enthusiasm and dedication necessary to secure a promotion.
Meetings, project planning sessions and any review periods are an ideal time to show others what you’re capable of. During these times, don’t be afraid to speak up, challenge processes and offer considered ideas and innovative solutions – all the leadership qualities that could get you recognised.
Working groups are typically dedicated to improving business efficiency, whether it’s from an internal or customer perspective. Joining working groups are a great way to meet a range of people from across the organisation and show you’re truly committed to improving how the business operates.
An experienced mentor could be a valuable source of guidance and inspiration on your path to securing a promotion. What’s more, they may be able to act as a highly influential reference when key decision-makers are considering you for promotion.
If you’re seeking an internal promotion, it’s likely key decision-makers will consider your participation and performance in meetings and contribution to projects as part of their assessment of your suitability for a higher-ranking role.
When seeking a more senior position outside your existing organisation, ensure your CV thoroughly details your ability to go above and beyond your existing role requirements. To give employers confidence, provide concrete examples of your successes, drive and determination.