“Every promotion is attractive”, Common Questions and Answers of a Modern Office.

QUESTION: Every promotion is attractive.

FACT: The delta benefits that a promotion provides are far fewer than the baggage of issues with which you’ll have to deal.


There are many reasons why you could say ‘no’ to a promotion even though you are ambitious.

There can be personal reasons; these may involve you wanting to spend time with your young children, or you having to tend to ailing parents, the health of your spouse or even your own. You may also be unwilling to move from a particular city or a country if that’s what the job demands, .or be resistant to a change in your functional area. Some others may not feel confident enough to take up the new role. Moreover, a new position might not be the result of a company’s strategic approach, but could possibly be annulled in the next downsizing, which means there are not many to take it up.

Then there’s an interesting category of people who say ‘no’ to a promotion; in their case, the ‘no’ is because the benefits do not compensate for the kind of issues and challenges that they would have to face in the new position. They do not want to drastically change their current lifestyle. The new position might entail frequent travel, and long and odd working hours. It could be that the team which the person is supposed to join is in a bad shape, and he is worried about the effort required to revive it. He might also have heard not-so-positive stories about his future manager.

This employee doesn’t really want to move out of his comfort zone; he doesn’t like the idea of working eighty hours a week– that too for someone else—with little time left for friends and family. In such a situation, he thinks it’s better to play the waiting game for a job that would be much more rewarding.

WHAT CAN YOU DO AS THE EMPLOYEE? If you decline the promotion because the benefits are not incentive enough for you to take up the new challenges, then it’s better to make this clear to your manager and the HR department. While they might come back without any changes in-the compensation, it is also possible that they might make some changes so that the promotion looks attractive; then, go grab it.

WHAT CAN YOU DO AS THE MANAGER? First, explore the reason why the employee is declining the promotion. If there is any misunderstanding, then it should be clarified. If it is related to compensation and benefits, then it should be taken up with the HR department and your own manager to see if anything more can be done within the company guidelines. Obviously, if the reason is something personal, then just offer the opportunity to the next eligible candidate. Sometimes, an employee turns down a promotion due to personal reasons and might want to be considered the next time. In such cases, you should avoid making him any promises, and when the next time comes, you should look at him on par with the rest of the contenders.

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