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Employee promotion policy template

The Employee Promotion policy outlines the guidelines for advancing employees within the company. It emphasizes merit-based advancements, ensuring fairness and transparency. The policy details the criteria for promotion, the process to follow, and the responsibilities of managers in promoting employees.

This employee promotion policy template is ready to be tailored to your company’s needs and should be considered a starting point for setting up your employment policies.

This promotion policy should include:

  1. Criteria for promotion, such as experience, performance reviews, and skillset matching.
  2. Processes for standard promotions, including discussions with HR and the employee.
  3. Guidelines for internal job postings, ensuring equal consideration of all internal applications.

employee promotion policy

Employee promotion policy template

Policy brief & purpose

Our employee promotion policy presents our guidelines for advancing and promoting employees from within our company. We want to invest in our employees and reward those who perform well.

This policy includes the process that managers must follow when promoting employees. We will communicate this policy to all employees to avoid confusion about who should be promoted and when.


This policy applies to all employees who qualify for promotion. Employees may be promoted only after their [three-month] onboarding period ends and if they are not under a performance improvement plan.

“Promotion” may be a move to a position of higher rank, responsibility and salary. Often, employees may advance to positions that don’t come with higher managerial authority. Instead, these advancements may be a career or role change that helps employees develop and grow.

Employees may be promoted within the same or another department or branch.

Policy elements

We will promote employees based on their performance and workplace conduct. Acceptable criteria for promotion are:

  • Experience in the job or tenure.
  • High performance level in [two] recent review cycles.
  • Skillset that matches the minimum requirements of the new role.
  • Personal motivation and willingness for a change in responsibilities.

These criteria reflect the bigger picture of an employee’s work. Managers should avoid making decisions for promotion based on recent or insignificant events. They should keep logs with important incidents that they might want to consider when it’s time to promote one of their team members.

In accordance with our company policies, we will not tolerate promotions that are based on:

To avoid such incidents, managers must keep good records of their promotion evaluation process.

When can managers consider employees for promotion?

Promotions may occur when:

  • A job opening is advertised internally as well as externally.
  • A position opens unexpectedly and our company wants to fill it from within.
  • An employee has consistently good performance evaluations and their manager deems them ready for the next step in their career.
  • An employee acquires a credential (licensure, degree etc.) that allows them to advance (e.g. a Licensed Practical Nurse becoming a Registered Nurse.)

Also, our company has an updated career plan that indicates each employee’s possible career path. Managers should take this plan into account when deeming to promote or advance their team members.

Process for standard promotions

Our company will establish a promotion review process every [end of year.] During this process, managers may consider selecting employees to move to a higher-level position, or a position that better matches their skills and aspirations. Spontaneous promotions may also occur if a business need arises.

Managers should follow this process:

  1. Meet with employees to talk about their career goals and/or aspirations for a promotion. Managers should create career plans for their team members.
  2. Identify opportunities to promote one or more team members, if applicable (by either filling vacancies creating new jobs or enhancing job titles.)
  3. Discuss the promotion with [HR/ direct supervisor/ department head] to receive approval. Managers should also ask HR about the new position’s salary range and any new benefits they should present to their team member.
  4. Arrange a meeting with the employee to determine whether they’d be happy with this career move.

Managers must keep detailed records of the process to support their decisions to promote employees. These records may also come in handy if other employees find the decision unfair or sue the company.

Internal job posting

We encourage hiring managers to post job openings internally. Hiring teams may post the job internally for a period of time before they post externally or post at both places at the same time. Internal candidates may be given priority in the hiring process since they’re already familiar with our culture and expectations.

Job postings should mention if the promotion involves relocation. Discrimination against protected characteristics is prohibited both for internal and external hiring decisions.

Managers who post job openings internally should:

  1. Consider all applications equally, based on their predetermined requirements.
  2. Determine whether an internal candidate has the skills to perform the job.
  3. Examine recent performance evaluations of internal candidates.
  4. Interview qualified internal candidates if necessary.
  5. Inform candidates whether they were selected for promotion. After the employee has accepted the job, hiring managers should inform HR and the employee’s current supervisor, if appropriate.
  6. Keep records of the application review process and note the criteria with which they rejected/hired an internal candidate.

Career development outside of promotion

Managers may often choose to expand employees’ duties, authority and autonomy without promoting them directly. For example, a salesperson may become a team leader and a junior coder may begin participating in engineering operations.

These changes may not always come with a formal title change. Employees may be awarded a higher salary, bonuses or stock options. The new benefits depend on the position and are at the immediate supervisor’s discretion.

Managers should keep an updated promotion plan in their team members’ file and discuss future career moves during performance reviews.

Disclaimer: This policy template is meant to provide general guidelines and should be used as a reference. It may not take into account all relevant local, state or federal laws and is not a legal document. Neither the author nor Workable will assume any legal liability that may arise from the use of this policy.
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