QUESTION: I am not getting promoted even though I am rated well in appraisals.
REALITY: There might not be a business need to promote you.
Contrary to popular belief, promotion is not always tied with performance rating. Yes, when a person joins an industry, he might see himself climbing the ladder faster than his peers if he has a better performance rating. However, as he gains in experience, it is possible that he might find himself occupying the same position for a number of years despite high performance ratings. This can lead to frustration and discontent. He might start questioning the rating and all the praise received from his manager. Meanwhile, his salary, which once used to grow at a good rate, is also showing a sign of stagnancy, and he feels that t he only way to get a better salary is to move up.
This situation could arise simply because his manager, while being comfortable delivering positive messages, is a little uneasy when it comes to delivering bad news. This could well be the reason why the manager hasn’t delivered the message as to why he could not be promoted. Also, it is possible that the manager is giving him a high rating only to keep him motivated. However, even if a manager has assessed correctly and has provided an honest rating and feedback, the high performer might still not be promoted. As an employee climbs the ladder, the number of available positions reduces. Normally, there is less movement at middle and senior levels. Promotions also take place when there is attrition. But if the company is doing well, the attrition rate will also be less. Of course, new positions are created in a growing organization, but then, those can be filled even by an external candidate. Under conditions of moderate growth, a company may prefer to open more junior positions than middle or senior ones. And promotions do take time as there has to be ca business need to create a position in the organization. Only in extreme circumstances is a position created to accommodate a high performer’s request to be promoted. It’s normal that many high performers have to wait for the right time.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS THE EMPLOYEE? Wait patiently for an opportunity to arrive. In the meantime, continue performing and learning. If you want to be in a particular position within a certain timeframe and the organization is non-committal about it, you should look elsewhere for a job that meets with your requirements.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS THE MANAGER? You have to provide honest feedback to the employee on the key skill set that he lacks which made him ineligible for promotion. And if there is no business need to open a new position, this too should be communicated to the employee. Avoid giving any promise of a timeline when a person can be promoted. Often, you will not be the sole decision-maker on the new position. Therefore, the suitability of a particular candidate will become clear only in the future.