Promotions are very important, no matter what the position is and what the organization does. Like termination at the other end; promotions are yet another delicate area for HR. This is another of the organization’s tasks for which HR, completely unfairly, ends up getting muck in the face for very little fault of its.
Limited role; unlimited blame
Why are promotions such a pain for HR? Mainly because most employees perceive HR to be behind them, which almost every other employee invariably thinks are unfair. This is the usual tale of virtually any organization, despite the fact that HR only does the paperwork and has only a limited role in deciding on a promotion. Most employees that don’t get promoted fail to see that a lot of factors go into promotions. They tend to see promotions as nepotism, favoritism, appeasement and politics.
Good promotions, bad promotions
They are wrong partly and fully on both counts –partly, in their belief about what goes into promotions, and fully, about poor HR’s role in it! The one major reason for the grouse against promotions is that it involves competition from peers. Obviously, when many people are working on a project together, it is natural that there are good performers and bad performers. When team members who are performing way above the rest get promoted, there could be nothing more than jealousy. At the other extreme, when a good-for-nothing doesn’t get it, there is a sense of vindication.
The problem arises when team members are almost identical in their performance, and one of them gets promoted and the others don’t. It is natural that this generates a lot of passion and heat. This is something that needs to be put in perspective, because it is a fact that for every fair promotion; there is a bad one as well.
Organization has to decide
Often, it is not possible for organizations to always be perfect in awarding a promotion, even if the assessment of the employees is. Many factors, most of them unknown to or unseen by the employees, go into promotions. For instance, it may be facing a financial crunch because of which it will be appropriate to promote only one of the employees, although others may have been nearly as good. When an organization decides to limit the number of promotions, it is certain to give rise to bad blood. The organization that does this is obliged to take the others into confidence and explain the matter. This is good for its own reputation, as much as it is for retaining employees who may otherwise quit in disappointment.
Now, HR comes in!
Of course, there is always the existence of a wrong promotion. The organization could be promoting an average employee for its own ulterior reasons, such as the ones we saw in the beginning. Whatever may go into promotions, it is important to strike a balance, so that the organization doesn’t end up losing either its name or its employees. Now, that is left to HR to take care of!
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