How to hold on to top staff when promotion isn't an option

Smaller, flatter firms can struggle to offer their rising stars senior roles, but that doesn't mean they can't keep them, says careers expert Sarah Ellis.

by Sarah Ellis

There are clear benefits to flatter, more flexible organisational structures: speed, adaptability and better alignment with cross-functional projects. However, one of the challenges managers now face is how to retain top talent when there are fewer opportunities for people to be promoted to the next ‘level’. 

A global study by Deloitte in 2019 found that 76 per cent of organisations now rate internal mobility as a board level priority and yet only 6 per cent of companies rate themselves as ‘excellent’ in this area.

Organisations are beginning to re-design and re-imagine how progression works and a significant part of delivering on this ambition relies on individuals re-defining their relationship with the concept of progression. Managers will need to play a significant role in supporting people through this process both emotionally and practically.

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