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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

21 Real Reasons Why Some People Get Promoted And Others Don't

How many of you believe that employees working in various private companies/ corporations get promoted fairly? Well, thats a tricky question, isn't it? Everyone has their own experiences and their response to this question may vary based on what they have experienced at their job. But everyone would agree that it is a cut throat competition these days and in few scenarios employees have to literally fight for their promotions even when they are really deserving candidates.

There are few, very few people who believe that it is not required to ask or fight for a promotion, they believe that once they become eligible for promotion their boss/ manager/ organization will automatically consider them for promotion. If you think that the corporate world operates in this ideal fashion then you need a reality check, because for variety of reasons getting promoted is not that easy these days. In this article we will uncover the real reasons that work behind the scene and suggest some ideas that may help you get an edge over others.

So have you ever asked for a promotion? or a level increment in your professional career? If yes, what kind of responses have you got? Let us try to go through some of the standard responses that people receive when they approach their boss/ manager/ organization with a request for promotion.



Here are few responses:
  • You need to do a lot more than what you are doing today to reach next level, you are not there yet
  • You have to first perform that role and prove yourself
  • There is no vacancy at that level as of now, we will consider you once we have an opening
  • You dont have the required years of experience to perform that role
  • You need to get recommendation from Department Head 1, Department Head 2 or from HR or from your Onsite Manager who is in US/ Australia/ South Africa/ UK etc. or you need to get a recommendation from the client manager(this happens very rarely but may happen to few people)
  • You need to get industry recognized certification for being considered as a candidate for promotion
  • You need to pass that exam or set of exams as mentioned in the company policy
  • You need to appear for a panel interview, if you pass you will be considered
  • You cannot get promoted this year because it is our organization policy to promote people only when they spend atleast 2 or 3 years at a certain level(you cannot get promoted every year)
The list given above is not complete, there are many more reasons/ responses that employees receive from their management every year in the appraisal season.

Now, let us look at how people react to these reasons/ responses received from the management.



Some of the standard reactions are:

  • This company is not fair, they do not treat employees equally. It is not worth putting so much of hard work in this company.
  • There is a lot of politics in this company. I cannot play politics, I am a good person.
  • They did not tell me what was required to be done at the beginning of the year, now they are giving me some baseless reasons and stalling my promotion.
  • Look person XYZ working in ABC department got a promotion, he is worth nothing, he comes to office so late and doesnt add any value but still he got promoted. Then why not me?
  • My previous manager promised to recommend my promotion but he did not do it, now the new manager does not know anything about my previous performance. This sucks.
This list goes on and on, everyone has their own way to react when they get to know that they were not promoted.

Now if you read the above again, you will notice one very interesting trend, all the reasons give by the manager/ boss to the employee refer to some action which is required to be taken by the employee. While on the other hand, the reactions given by employees are such that all action/ ownership lies on the organization/ company/ manager/ boss. This is where the real catch is, because at the end of everything it becomes a blame game in which the employee always turns out to be on the losing side.

So what should an employee do in this case? How can the employee take certain actions which will help him/ her be better positioned and not feel cheated at the end of the appraisal cycle? Here are some suggestions:




  • Do some research about the next job role that you aspire to play in case you get promoted. Don't just blindly go and ask for promotion. Understand what role you will get to play and responsibilities will you carry in case you get promoted. Also understand what knowledge or tools or techniques do you need to learn. Just gaining years of experience in your current role does not mean that you will be able to play the role of next level.
  • Identify the influencers and decision makers. Not everyone in a decision maker so it is important to understand the difference between influencers and decision makers. Tag them differently and make sure that the influencers help you gain the right visibility in front of the decision makers.
  • Make connects with key stakeholders, it does not mean that you go and ask them to recommend your promotion but what it means is making sure that they know you in a good way so that one fine day when someone approaches them for feedback they speak positively about you. For example, you may be working in sales department but the head of finance department might be a part of the promotion panel, so you may not work with him directly but you should still make an attempt to get in touch with him by virtue of your job.
  • Understand the policies/ rules of your organization. For example, if your organization wants you pass an exam or pass a certification as an eligibility criteria for promotion then you need start preparing for it from day 1 of the year and not wait until the last day of the year.
  • Work hard but learn how to get visibility/ credit of the hard work. Sometimes just plain hard work is not enough, you need to be smart enough to get the required visibility. Participating in a roadshow/ hackathon/ debate/ public speaking forum etc. are some forums to showcase your talent.
  • Do atleast 3 to 5 things which others are not doing, this will help you stay ahead of the competiton. You do not need to do complex things, you can simply do a better job at self improvement by learning/ attending some trainings or passing some certifications. These are some simple differentiators.
  • Learn to identify and use opportunities within and outside your group or department. The level increment or promotion that you desire may not be available in your department but it may be available outside your department so networking skills may come in handy here.
  • Never compare yourself with other employees in terms of salary/ grade, always compare yourself with the industry standard and organization standard. This will give you a better idea of where you are placed in the industry/ company and not just in comparison with your peers.
  • Last but not the least, get mature in your current role before you aspire to move to the next role. Learning and gaining experience on the current job are extremely important. Don't be in a hurry to go to the next level, make sure you are prepared/ ready for it.
These are some key actions advised for those who aspire to grow in their professional career. To conclude, here is a quote: 'People don't get promoted for doing their job really well. They get promoted by demonstrating their potential to do more'.

If you liked this article then you may also want to read 7 Secrets Of Making Your Own Luck


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