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How to Tell your Employee they didn't get Promoted
Insights From Mettl Company Insights

Perhaps the most difficult task for any manager is to tell his/her employee that they haven't been promoted this time. More so, when the employee has been expecting it badly. Some pointers given below can help you walk the tightrope with ease:

  • Never Communicate on Email:

Communication regarding promotion not being granted to an employee who has been expecting it badly can go wrong if not handled effectively. Never make the faux pas of communicating such sensitive stuff over the email to get over it immediately and to avoid facing the employee face-to-face. This will disengage, demotivate, and raise trust and loyalty issues for the employee. Invite the employee for a meeting and tell them through effective communication employing empathy, compassion, and mindfulness as well.

  • Tell them the Reasons:

Since you aren’t promoting an employee, let them know the reason why it couldn't be accommodated this time and the implications for the future. Let them know if it was due to employee’s objectives and KRA not met, organization’s revenue not being up to the mark, or internal structural changes due to which appraisal and promotion were put to the backburner inside the organization. Don’t beat about the bush and say in clear terms what you want to convey to the employee- the present as well as the future.   

  • Give them a Clear Path:

Let the employees know that even if promotions couldn't be accommodated this time, there’s room in the future. Give them more responsibilities and a clear trajectory with set a timeline about what you expect from them for the future. For example, you could give a junior resource to the employee to work with to check their leadership and managerial skills. Whatever you do, remember to set their goals and personal inclinations aligned with the organization’s vision and success to keep them motivated and engaged until the next appraisal cycle.

Topics: Human Resources

Originally published April 19 2019,updated June 29 2019

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