16 November 2023

Promotions can seem inherently positive. Of course, what’s not to love about ticking another goal of the list, salary increases and further rewards? However, a word of warning for companies who think that promotions are enough to keep their teams happy: overdue promotions are one of the leading causes of dissatisfaction and disillusion in the workplace.
Too often, we speak with candidates who are going above and beyond in their day-to-day, but are still waiting for an ever-postponed review meeting. Their progression seems to be stagnated, so much so that they begin to look for the next step up outside of their current company. More often than not, even when finally offered, promotions and unlikely to sway top talent away from looking to continue their career in a different setting. Why is this? What can agencies do to ensure they don’t know what they’ve got until it’s gone?

Good promotions vs. bad promotions

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as a bad promotion. If you don’t know it, then your overworked and underpaid middle management certainly will. Whilst promotions can be a great opportunity to make the next step up in your career, without the necessary framework in place, they can feel like more of a burden than a reward. Candidates can feel that promotions are a red herring: the friendly face of more work with a sprinkling of benefits to make it appear more palatable. A “bad promotion” sees talent shouldering greater responsibilities within a diminished work environment that lacks team structure and coordination. This is mostly commonly seen in position of middle management, as whilst they are given more responsibility within their role (direct line manages, mentorship, etc.) without internal support to ease the transition they end up just as dissatisfied as before, expect this time with more work, less time and greater responsibility for a project’s outcome.

The grass IS greener

The truth is, informed candidates won't see eventual promotions as an incentive to stay with the same agency. In fact, the delay itself can appear insulting to top talent who've had better offers elsewhere, coming across a last-ditch attempt to lower staff turnover rather than a genuine recognition of hard work and dedication. In that regard, a promotion that feels "too little, too late" is seen as nothing more than a bargaining chip to ensure a better offer for their next placement.

Delayed promotion plans are also a key trigger for candidates who already feeling stagnant in their current role. Whilst finally achieving a promotion is great, for those who have been waiting for extended periods of time it can lead them to question whether their current company can consistently offer them the personal progression opportunities that they're looking for.

A sign of what's to come

Creeping doubts in an insecure market do not make for a happy team member. With marked turbulence across UK business sectors in 2023, company-wide promotion freezes can be a red flag for talent who are already feeling the strain amidst the cost of living crisis. Whilst promotion freezes aren't necessarily and indication of a struggling company, it's an anxiety that many of us could do without this year, and as such many would rather seek security in a position that doesn't feel under threat.

If you're feeling undervalued in your current company, or if consistent changes are leaving you concerned, then reach out to the team at CM Consulting today. Our team of progression partners have the finger on the pulse of healthcare communications market, and can offer impartial advice and guidance at times when making a change feels daunting, but necessary.
Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website: www.cmconsulting.co to keep up to date with our latest opportunities, articles and resources.

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