Young businesswoman reaching up staircase as symbol of growth and progress

There can be obstacles when promoting employees from daily instability. However, this doesn’t mean the opportunity shouldn’t be given. If supervisors understand the obstacles an under-resourced employee may face when promoted, then there will be a higher success rate.

One obstacle is the loss of relationships and change in identity. Example: Joe and James drive to work together. Now Joe supervises James. James is starting to think Joe is “getting above his raising.” The friendship has changed. They are no longer equals, and from James’s perspective, Joe’s identity has changed.

My friend Sonia, who lived 20-plus years in daily instability, said that her company gave her room for learning and adjusting to job duties while holding her accountable to policies, procedures, and company standards. It was the type of support she needed to make the transition.

A second issue can be that an additional resource base is needed in a new position. Written and verbal language and communication skills, planning, abstract thinking, and analysis of details are all required.

One woman I interviewed when I was writing Workplace Stability told me that her new position requires more paperwork, more team management responsibilities, and management of a secretary. She has to be very intentional about being more organized and structured with her time, something that doesn’t come naturally for her.

A third issue can be that the organizational demands change at different levels. A person recently promoted may not understand the new demands of the new role. I asked once in an interview how many hours a week the job I was interviewing for would entail. The answer was, “Until the job is done.” I should’ve continued my job search. Even if I’ve been recently promoted, I may still need to catch the same bus or ride share home, which might be the last bus, but my daycare pickup requirements haven’t shifted. How much is the late pickup fee for daycare? Do the new wages of the promotion cover that?

The organization’s resources (the relative stability or instability of the business) can impact and affect what can be offered to employees. On-the-job training, paid time off, a 401(k), education benefits, etc. all add to the stability of the employees, which increases the stability of the company.

Though there can be retention and promotion issues, it is still worth the time to retain employees and promote them from within. Consider the cost of replacing an employee and the benefits of promoting from within; employers get better ROI than they would with new hires. When employers anticipate that this can be an issue, they can put mentoring and policies in place to support the promotion.