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Criteria for Promotion in the Workplace

by Kenya Lucas

A job promotion is an important accomplishment because it shows that your employer trusts you with more responsibility and, often, a bigger paycheck. If you hope to get a promotion at your company, or are considering asking for one, it helps to understand some of the common criteria for advancement. You will need to write down some of your important accomplishments and then make a case to your supervisor that you meet the criteria for being promoted.

Superior Performance

The most obvious consideration in a promotion is how well you perform your current duties. Top performers produce first-rate products and services, generate revenue, and save both time and money in the process. In some cases it is easy to identify objective performance benchmarks. For example, a customer service center tracks the number of calls per hour that agents complete, along with the number of problems they resolve. Many callers also take part in short surveys rating the level of customer service they received. If your performance scores in this area are consistently high, then you can make a credible case for your promotion. In other cases, performance evaluations are more subjective. An example would be a boss who makes daily observations of your work, such as how you manage time or interact with colleagues. While these appraisals are informal, they can help paint a realistic picture of positive -- or negative -- overall performance.

Significant Time in Position

The amount of time you have been in your current position also factors into your promotion criteria. As a general rule, more seniority entitles you to a promotion over peers, though that's not always the case. Working in a certain job for a significant amount of time allows you to learn various aspects of the job until you fully absorb it. After you reach this benchmark, your boss can better evaluate your overall performance. Once promoted, you will probably manage someone who takes on your previous responsibilities, which also helps your case for promotion. The company benefits if you know your old job inside and out, so it is important to learn all you can about your current job before requesting a promotion.

Attendance

Attendance is another part of the criteria for promotion. First, your boss will consider whether you are chronically late or often leave early. She will also evaluate the number of days you are out of the office. If you have a large number of sick days, as well as poorly scheduled personal and vacation days, this might be a red flag that can work against you. Your attendance patterns reveal your willingness or ability to conform to company policies. They also speak to your respect for colleagues and authority. If you schedule a lot of days off during busy times of the year, your employer might question your commitment to the overall good of the company. On the other hand, if you schedule vacation or personal days only during slow times of the year, are punctual, and rarely call in sick, you can make a better case for your promotion.

Strong Potential for Advancement

You do not receive a promotion just because you excel at your current position. You must also be a good fit for the new one. Even when you master your current position, an employer takes other things into account. For example, if you have a hard time delegating responsibility to others, your boss might question whether you are suitable for a leadership role that requires you to manage other employees. Before applying for a promotion, read over the job description to ensure you have the qualities it takes to succeed, and whether the promotion fits your professional strengths and ambitions.

About the Author

Kenya Lucas has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in “Anthropology & Medicine,” “New Directions for Evaluation,” “Psychology of Women Quarterly” and “Journal of the Grant Professionals Association.” She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University and Brown University.

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