What to do with an employee who wants to step-up

Gordon Wintrob

Co-founder and CTO at Newfront



"One of my engineers was a good performer who had been working at my company for less than a year. He came to me and told me that he would really like to step-up and become a senior engineer. My team was composed of great engineers, and he was also very good, but there were some areas he had to improve in before he could be promoted."

Actions taken

"I told him very rationally how he could step-up. We went through the objectives that the company sets for the engineers to meet before they can be promoted to a senior engineer role, and we talked about them line-by-line. I tried to be as transparent as possible 'You are good in this area, but you could improve in this other area'. By doing this, he was made aware of what he needed to improve at, and he was given clear information about when he could be promoted. We then discussed this matter several times in one-on-ones after our initial conversation. Since our conversations were based on very clear criteria, it was much easier to discuss the topic."

Lessons learned

"When it comes to promoting an employee, you should set very clear expectations, in order to avoid confusion and disappointment. It's also helpful to ensure the employee understands that their promotion is up to them and the work they do, and not up to you."

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Gordon Wintrob

Co-founder and CTO at Newfront

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