PROMOTIONS

Promotion refers to upward movement of an employee from current job to another that is higher in pay, responsibility and/or organisational level. Promotion brings enhanced status, better pay, increased responsibilities and better working conditions to the promotee. There can, of course, be ‘dry promotion’ where a person is moved to a higher level job without increase in pay. Promotion is slightly different from upgradation which means elevating the place of the job in the organisational hierarchy (a better title is given now) or including the job in higher grade (minor enhancement in pay in tune with the limits imposed within a particular grade). A transfer implies horizontal movement of an employee to another job at the same level. There is no increase in pay, authority or status. Hence, it cannot act as a motivational tool. Promotion, on the other hand, has in-built motivational value, as it elevates the status and power of an employee within an organisation.
Purposes and Advantages of Promotion
Promotion, based either on meritorious performance or continuous service, has powerful motivational value. It forces an employee to use his knowledge, skills and abilities fully
and become eligible for vertical growth. It inspires employees to compete and get ahead of others. Those who fall behind in the race are also motivated to acquire the required skills to be in the reckoning. Promotion thus, paves the way for employee self development. It encourages them to remain royal and committed to their jobs and the organisation. The organisation would also benefit immensely because people are ready to assume challenging roles by improving their skills constantly. Interest in training and development programmes would improve. The organisation would be able to utilise the skills and abilities of its personnel more effectively.
Bases of Promotion
Organisations adopt different bases of promotion depending upon their nature, size, management, etc. Generally, they may combine two or more bases of promotion. The
well-established bases of promotion are seniority and merit.
1. Merit-based promotions: Merit based promotions occur when an employee is
promoted because of superior performance in the current job. Merit here denotes an individual's knowledge, skills, abilities and efficiency as measured from his educational qualifications, experience, training and past employment record. The advantages of this system are fairly obvious :
i. It motivates employees to work hard, improve their knowledge, acquire new skills and contribute to organisational efficiency.
ii. It helps the employer to focus attention on talented people, recognise and
reward their meritorious contributions in an appropriate way.
iii. It also inspires other employees to improve their standards of performance
through active participation in all developmental initiatives undertaken by the
employer (training, executive development, etc.)
However, the system may fail to deliver the results, because:
i. It is not easy to measure merit. Personal prejudices, biases and union pressures
may come in the way of promoting the best performer.
ii. When young employees get ahead of other senior employees in an organisation (based on superior performance), frustration and discontentment may spread among the ranks. They may feel insecure and may even quit the organisation.
iii. Also, past performance may not guarantee future success of an employee. Good performance in one job (as a Foreman, for example) is no guarantee of good performance in another (as a supervisor).
2. Seniority-based promotions: Seniority refers to the relative length of service in
the same organisation. Promoting an employee who has the longest length of
service is often widely welcomed by unions because it is fairly objective. It is easy
to measure the length of service and judge the seniority. There is no scope for
favouritism, discrimination and subjective judgement. Everyone is sure of getting
the same, one day.
In spite of these merits, this system also suffers from certain limitations. They are:
i. The assumption that the employees learn more with length of service is not valid as employees may learn upto a certain stage, and learning capabilities may diminish beyond a certain age.
ii. It demotivates the young and more competent employees and results in greater employee turnover.
iii. It kills the zeal and interest to develop, as everybody will be promoted without showing any all-round growth or promise.
iv. Judging the seniority, though it seems to be easy in a theoretical sense, is highly difficult in practice as the problems like job seniority, company seniority, zonal/regional seniority, service in different organisations, experience as apprentice trainee, trainee, researcher, length of service not only by days but by hours and minutes will crop up.
Promotion Policy
Seniority and merit, thus, suffer from certain limitations. To be fair, therefore, a firmshould institute a promotion policy that gives due weightage to both seniority and merit.
To strike a proper balance between the two, a firm could observe the following points:
i. Establish a fair and equitable basis for promotion i.e., merit or seniority or both.
ii. A promotion policy established thus, should provide equal opportunities for promotion
in all categories of jobs, departments and regions of an organisation.
iii. It should ensure an open policy in the sense that every eligible employee is considered
for promotion rather than a closed system which considers only a particular class of employees. It must tell the employees the various avenues for achieving vertical growth through career maps, charts etc.
iv. The norms for judging merit, length of service, potentiality, etc., must be established
beforehand. The relative weightage to be given to merit or seniority or both should also be spelt out clearly.
v. The mode of acquiring new skills, knowledge, etc., should be specified to all employees so that they can prepare themselves for career advancement.
vi. Appropriate authority should be entrusted with the responsibility of taking a final decision on promotion.
vii. Detailed records of service, performance, etc., should be maintained for all employees, to avoid charges of favouritism, nepotism etc.
viii. It should be consistent in the sense that it is applied uniformly to all employees, inspective of their background.
ix. Promotion policy should contain alternatives to promotion when deserving candidates are not promoted due to lack of vacancies at higher level. These alternatives include upgradation, redesignation, sanctioning of higher pay or increments or allowances assigning new and varied responsibilities to the employee by enriching the job or enlarging the job.

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