employee performance evaluation, employee training, hr best practices, hr policies, Human Resources Training, Law & Compliance, Training & Development, workplace safety

Handling reactions to promotions at the workplace

While awarding an employee a promotion is one big matter that requires considerable assessment skills; handling other employees’ reaction to it is a bigger problem for HR. This is all the more true when the promotion is controversial and is seen as something that is partial. On how many occasions would everyone in the office agree that the promotion was a just reward to the right person? Even if it is, not everyone, especially the promoted employee’s peers, would necessarily think so.

Requires some juggling

Handling such persons requires some skill on the part of HR, because their reaction could range from scorn to jealousy to foul mouthing to outright rebellion (not cooperating with the newly promoted employee). As happens on most such occasions, it is the HR which is duly entrusted with the task of managing such reactions.

Make them feel heard

Taking the left out employees into confidence is one of the most valuable steps HR can take as a responsible department. Even if HR has not had a major say in the promotion, it is necessary to defend it. This is even when the promoted employee is the manager’s nephew! The first step is to mollify the hurt employee/s. It is natural for people to react, and the best course is to allow them to vent out their feelings.

Listen calmly and patiently

This will be a great opportunity to gauge what the other employees are thinking about the promotion.  Be prepared for any kind of reaction, because it is human nature after all to feel upset at something that they perceive as injustice or a wrong act. Give them a patient ear, because many a time, this is all that the hurt employee needs. If HR tries to be belligerent in this meeting, this will only add fuel to the fire.

Dangle the carrot

However, it should be made very clear to these employees that the promotion was not a joke and is irreversible. They should also be pacified with the assurance that this promotion certainly does not mean the end of the road for them in the organization, and that their turn too is round the corner, for which all that they need to do is put in that little extra, which the promoted employee managed to put.

In extreme cases…

Sometimes, some firmness may be required if the employee turns out to be very abrasive or aggressive to the point of becoming physical. On such occasions, HR will have no choice other than to call security.




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