Public sector organizations frequently use highly structured processes for determining eligibility for promotion to supervisory or management ranks. For the individuals involved, a lot is riding on the outcome of these procedures. As a consequence, there is a particularly important requirement that the promotion system be viewed as fair and valid, in terms of both its design and its implementation.
Ellis Locke & Associates assisted the Fire Department of a mid-sized Ontario municipality in developing a promotion system for the rank of Platoon Chief. Establishing a design team of representatives from all stakeholder groups contributed significantly to the credibility and eventual acceptance of the promotion system. Our consulting team guided this group through a variety of design and policy decisions such as seniority, eligibility requirements, assessment measures to be used, etc. This helped to ensure that the promotion system was based on up-to-date research and assessment technology, and reflected the sort of “best practices” that would stand up if promotion decisions were ever challenged. Job relevance was assured by using a “subject matter expert” committee drawn from the ranks of the Department to conduct a structured competency profiling process on which to base assessment materials.
Following approval by the design team and endorsement by the Firefighters Association, officers designated as promotion system board members were trained by an Ellis Locke & Associates consultant as assessors. Based on the success and acceptance of the Platoon Chief process, the same promotion system was employed to develop promotional procedures for the Captain rank.