‘If such a high performance does not fetch me a promotion, then what will?’ Not an unusual question during appraisal discussion by an employee. This is a situation most managers face a couple of times in their career. A more difficult question than this is ‘When my colleague can get promoted for similar performance, why not me?’
The need for recognition and appreciation is most basic to human beings. Rewards & Recognition (R&R) program is an effective tool to motivate talent and drive superior performance. It is critical, however, to choose the rewards and ways of recognition. When rewards and recognition framework is designed suitably and administered fairly, it is easier for employees to manage their expectations.
Is career progression a matter of R&R? It should be, as recognition, but may not be, as a reward. The idea of ‘Promotion’ should be well defined by the organizations and communicated to employees. The challenge is, promotion is offered and perceived as a reward for high performance. In many organizations, there is a time scale applied to it, which also leads to a sense of entitlement. Managers feel obligated to consider promotion to employees every 2-3 years and if someone is not promoted at these intervals, those employees believe that they have been denied the reward.
To manage this challenge, many organizations create an organization with several levels/bands/grades. However, in such tall organizations, even though someone is promoted, they effectively continue to do the same job, with a better title and higher compensation. Sustaining this model becomes a challenge over a period. Employees, on the other hand, do not progress in their careers in real sense.
Conducting continuous performance feedback dialogue with the employees is another crucial ingredient of establishing the right performance culture in the organization, seeking to build clarity among individuals.
Employees must focus on their self-development to achieve their growth goals. Developing new skills, improving competency mix and getting ready for the next role are the ways to grow. It should be communicated to all leaders and employees that promotion is the expansion of the role (vertical or horizontal). When someone is promoted, that employee’s role is enriched with higher or newer responsibilities. To qualify for the same, consistent high performance is one of the key attributes, but not the only prerequisite.
For high performance, employees are rewarded with better compensation, higher bonus, and eligibility for special developmental inputs. Such employees are engaged in talent development programs, are exposed to learning opportunities and figure in talent discussions at leadership levels. This is expected to help these employees in preparing themselves for higher roles in future.
It breaks the barrier of hierarchies and levels which may act as a blocker in a communication channel. Employees are encouraged to have open dialogue with the management and freely approach any level of authority to address their concerns if any.
Today it is required that we imbibe the culture of openness and transparency, where employees are clearly communicated about the promotion and reward philosophy of the organization. When employees are made aware of this approach, they start focusing on the right efforts to grow and appreciate what to expect for their contributions.