What are suggestions for making sure that early-career employees feel they have opportunity to be promoted in a remote-working environment, where they don't get close day-to-day contact with leaders?

5.9k views3 Upvotes10 Comments

President in Software, 51 - 200 employees
Make Slack the expected place for discussions, decisions, announcements etc. for everyone, top to bottom. Teams is a mediocre substitute but better than nothing. Kill internal e-mail.
Associate Vice President, Information Technology & CISO in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
I think that the idea that remote working leads to reduced day-to-day contact with leaders is false. I started a new role during the pandemic and built a cyber team fully remotely, without once stepping foot in the workplace.

I gave my employees the same opportunity to be visible in front of leaders remotely as I would on-site. They delivered the presentations, they answered the tough questions, and they shone and received the kudos when we did well.

I think this is more a question about leadership style and ensuring your teams are given the visibility they deserve. Does remote working add challenges here? Sure. Does it allow us opportunities as well? Absolutely!

One of the benefits of being remote, especially for early career employees is taking a little bit of the edge off of being in front of an executive and a crowd of them at that, and trying to remember content, etc. In a remote world, they can have their notes right there on the screen and seamlessly communicate all while in underwear (I jest... Kind of).

Hope that helps!
CIO in Education, 501 - 1,000 employees
We need to be aware of proximity bias as leaders and provide early-career employees with better ways to engage (skip level meetings, higher visibility projects, chances to meet with the leadership team are all examples that come to mind).
CTO in Healthcare and Biotech, 11 - 50 employees
I don't see a difference between remote employees and the ones that aren't. In the end, communication is essential to have a strong team, regardless of where they are located. I strongly suggest you have weekly 1:1 with them in which the camera must be on ( This way, they will feel closeness rather than just plain audio ).

Also, as was mentioned by @Jared Relmer, use Slack to communicate hastily and foster an open-door policy, so they can reach you as soon as they need it.

Be in touch with them constantly along with the 1:1.
VP of Product Management in Software, 10,001+ employees
1. Creating "freedom within a framework" - Without informal opportunities to get face-to-face feedback, creating clear expectations and a framework in which to work can help them meet and exceed in role. 

2. Identifying and creating mentorship opportunities - Identify who inspires them, who could be a mentor, who needs to know them to advocate for their promotion and then find ways for them to present, meet, collaborate, and learn from those individuals. 

3. 360 Feedback - Add additional structure to feedback loops. In addition to performance cycles, add more frequent 360 feedback loops and other opportunities to get constructive, timely view into performance. 
Principal in Finance (non-banking), Self-employed
Early-career employees should be encouraged to put themselves out there, connect, take on opportunities outside of work even if they are in a remote-working environment. We have to sometimes prod them to make the efforts that take energy, but will offer them far greater rewards in the long-run, versus waiting for opportunities to come to them. 
Chief Technology Officer in Software, 2 - 10 employees
False premise. Remote working can increase the access and contact with leaders. I have made this a priority and find that I actually get more time with each of my team members than I ever did in HQ and I don't have to waste as much time getting meeting rooms. 
CFO Advisory Director in Finance (non-banking), 10,001+ employees
An idea, increase formal and informal networking opportunities
CEO in Software, 11 - 50 employees
1. Transparent Communication: Provide regular updates on organizational goals, performance expectations, and potential career paths. Use virtual town halls, video conferences, and open communication channels to bridge the gap between leaders and early-career employees.

2. Mentorship and Coaching: Establish virtual mentorship programs that connect early-career employees with experienced leaders. Encourage ongoing coaching and feedback sessions to guide their professional development.

3. Skill Development: Offer virtual training sessions, webinars, and online courses to enhance their skills and knowledge. Tailor these opportunities to align with their career aspirations and company needs.

4. Performance Recognition: Implement a fair performance evaluation system that acknowledges and rewards achievements. Recognize remote employees publicly for their contributions and efforts.

5. Cross-Functional Exposure: Encourage collaboration on projects with colleagues from different departments to expand their network and gain exposure to various areas of the company.

6. Goal Setting and Growth Plans: Work with early-career employees to set clear goals and create personalized growth plans. Provide support and resources to help them achieve these objectives.

7. Virtual Social Events: Organize virtual team-building activities and social events to foster camaraderie and create a sense of belonging within the remote workforce.

8. Employee Resource Groups: Establish virtual employee resource groups where early-career employees can connect with peers, share experiences, and seek advice from more experienced colleagues.

9. Performance Feedback: Regularly provide constructive feedback to help early-career employees understand their strengths and areas for improvement. Use video calls for face-to-face feedback sessions when possible.

10. Opportunities for Visibility: Give early-career employees opportunities to present their work or ideas to senior management through virtual meetings or presentations.

By implementing these strategies, organizations can create a supportive and growth-oriented remote work environment that ensures early-career employees feel valued, motivated, and confident in their potential for career advancement.
Founder and Head of Sales in Services (non-Government), 2 - 10 employees
Putting them into weekly group coaching and professional development programs where they can build relationships across teams, roles but also personally get clear on their strengths and their interests. Often early career employees what to "get promoted" but they don't really know what they want. Helping them figure out "what I need" is what I call getting them into their WIN Room. Building a firm foundation with them about what their unique drivers are, strengths, interests is key because if they can get clear on what is meaningful to them in what they do today and their specific goals for the future, they are going to see more clearly how they "fit in" to the organization, it will increase engagement and performance. 

The data from these groups can then be shared up to the leadership and you can invite leaders into the group for a reverse mentoring session. Creating ways to build connections across the employees and visibility into leadership. When you do this the employees will stand out and have more opportunities to be promoted faster. 

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