Great Place to Work’s survey of over 400,000 workers found that when people believe the company manages promotions effectively, they’re more than 2X as likely to give extra effort at work and to plan a long-term future with their company.
Here’s the thing, though: the recruitment industry has historically based promotions solely on the financial performance.
This old-school system means that when someone has missed their target by a mere £500, they had to wait ANOTHER 6 months to hit their promotion. We found that we’re missing a trick with our promotions and progressions policies.
It completely dismisses the hard work and dedication this person put into the company. It’s demotivating and frustrating for the employee. After all, promotions are highly personal - they can damage our sense of self and our wellbeing.
Here are other problems we found with the progression that focuses only on the financial KPIs:
We wanted to make sure that we’re promoting people for being people. So we included behaviours into our progression targets. We call it PGF = Progression Growth Framework.
Our performance reviews not only feature numbers but also self-development and behaviours based on our values. This means that if an employee was close to hitting their targets but showcased all the right behaviours and attitudes, they’re still deserving of a promotion.
For non-sales roles across the company, we also include leadership & ownership qualities and behaviours, besides quarterly and performance-based targets.
We want everyone across the business to have equal opportunities for progression and promotion.
Each of our team members has their own Progression Growth Framework on Notion. They can note on each scorecard examples of how they think they achieved their behaviour targets. They then review these with their manager at the end of every quarter.
“If a company lacks clear standards for pay and promotion, it’s harder for employees to know what they need to do to progress, or to realise when they are being undervalued.”
Two key policies support our Progression Growth Framework to ensure fair pay:
We understand our team will only be happy if they know they’re being paid fairly. So we transparently communicate targets and salaries for each level on both management and non-management career routes. That way, the higher pay doesn’t go to those who ask for it or are friends with their supervisor, but those who deserve it (source).
We never want to pay less than the position is actually worth. According to research, men were found to start negotiations 4X as often as women. Because of this, we actively seek to eliminate the gender pay gap and encourage a much more diverse workforce. That’s why we assigned a non-negotiable salary to each position - no matter where in the UK they’re based.
We integrated our values and behaviours that are important to us. We broke it into four core pillars:
We use this system not only for quarterly reviews but also in our hiring process and probation reviews. When hiring, we base pay decisions on the individual’s skills and experience, not their previous salary. If we’re unsure about someone’s level, we can always check if they ticked enough boxes for a position.
Implementing this kind of standardised, formal criteria around performance and reward that employees understand has been proven to reduce the gender pay gap.
We rolled out Progression Growth Framework in early 2021. It’s been crucial when giving feedback - particularly to motivate employees who have been a tremendous asset to the business, despite not fully hitting their financial targets.
Our new joiners found it especially useful because they know exactly what’s expected from them, what we value and how they can progress.
However, this framework will never be set in stone - it’s something we’re constantly going to track, review and edit.
Managers and HR teams need to understand that some organisation processes for progression open up space for bias and that way, disadvantage women and minorities.
Research shows that transparency and formalisation are successful in reducing gender bias.
To quote Rohman et al (2018): “Promotions are about people. When leaders take a caring and coaching-oriented approach, every promotion can feel like a shared win”. And that’s exactly what we’ll always strive for at Few&Far.
– Ashleigh Hamilton, Head of People at Few&Far
– Marta Zemljic, Marketing Executive at Few&Far