Successful promotion plans are difinite, systematic, fair, and followed uniformly. The basis of promotion is the organization chart, developed after a systematic job analysis. Each employee should understand the responsibilities of his or her position, the line of promotion, the requirements for the next higher job, and the salary to be expected, which should not be less than the minimum salary for the higher classification or rank.
A promotion plan must have the confidence of the employee. To provide for promotions based upon objective data and not solely upon personal opinion and assessment, the human resources department should maintain a database of all personnel. These files should contain information such as the following for each worker: age, education, experience, special abilities, physical condition, absences from work, tardiness, suggestions offered by the employee to the firm, any disciplinary action taken, and most important, the periodic performance appraisals.
Commonly we find that promotions are granted as rewards for successful work done in a previous position. The firm senses that status and compensation can be i ncreased only by moving a person up the organizational ladder. However, these firms must develop a greater awareness that each position requires different skills and attitudes and that success in one area does not, in itself quality a person for promotion to a higher position. Thus, promotions should be related to the specific requirements of the new position. As a result, individuals will not be promoted solely because of their success in previously held jobs, longevity, or their personal loyalty to the firm or to their superiors. Although these factors are important indicators of a person's overall contribution to the firm, they should be used only as part of the promotion criteria. Other criteria that are more indicative of success on the future job include a complete knowledge and understanding of the duties, responsibilities, and requirements of the new position; interviews and tests that have been checked for their validity and reliability; promotion trials, which give the prospective candidate an insight into some of the new duties, followed by an evaluation of performance; and participation in assessment centers, where the potential of the candidate for promotion is judged by team of trained observers.
Publicizing Job Vacancies
Companies use several methods to inform office employees of job vacancies for which they may apply. A common method of publicizing job vacancies is to post notices on bulletin boards. Generally, there is a limit on the length of time the notice must remain posted and the time during which employees may bid for the job. However, in many companies, employees may bid at any time until the job is filled.
Memos may also be sent by the human resources department to supervisor, who announce the job openings to their works. For example, one firm issues to all its supervisors a weekly report that lists all current openings. Other approaches to publicizing job vacancies include listing the openings in employee publications and announcing any openings at the supervisory meetings. Also, some firms operate a job preference system that gives employees an opportunity to indicate interest in certain types of jobs should openings occur.
Identifying Employees' Promotional Potential
Companies may use a skills inventory or human resources information system to provide names of employees who are eligivle for promotion when vacancies occur. More frequently, however, companies make use of their performance appraisal system, which includes an evaluation of their employees' promotion potential.
Some firms seek outside professional help to evaluate their employees' potential for promotion. Management consulting firms may be called upon to test employees and to conduct interviewes in an attempt to determine which employees possess the abilities and characteristics fro promotion. For example, one management consulting firm gives personality tests to obtain a better understanding of the employees' attitudes and opinions and to help determine the employees' future benefit to the company.
In large companies, psychological testing is sometimes used to observe and evaluate workers in order to locate future managerial ability. Also, companies may use assessment centers to identify employees who are suited for higher positions.
Factors Considered in Promotion Decisions
Many companies take seniority, or length or service, into account when making promotion decisions concerning office jobs. However, seniority is rarely the only factor examined. When making promotion decisions for obbice jobs, the following factors are commonly given more consideration than seniority:
- Ability to perform the work.
- Previous work record.
- Previous experience or education.
- Recommendation of supervisor or department head.
- Interview ratings.
Other firms, especially governmental offices* and unionized companies, place more emphasis upon seniority when promoting office personnel. These firms feel that people who have served loyally for a long period merit recognition. The philosophy of basing promotions upon seniority tends to stabilize employment and to reduce turnover. Seniority should not be adhered to rigidly, however, since it may become an arbitrary check on younger workers. Also promotion based solely upon seniority may result in somewhat stagnant staff. New ideas and ability to perform the work must be given recognitiion, even at the expense of seniority. Otherwise the younger and perhaps more creative, aggressive employees will seek work with a competitor or maybe start in business themselves, with either action possibliy being detrimental to the firm.
*Please note that in Malaysia, the Sistem Saraan Malaysia (SSM), places greater emphasis on employee performance, attendance in special courses, and passing of special tests, when making promotional decisions. Please check www.jpa.gov.my for more information.