Most companies still follow the seniority rule in
promoting employees. Older employees have a better chance of moving up the
corporate ladder with this rule. The rest have to wait for their turn. While it
seems like a norm almost everywhere, it’s actually a terrible practice. These
are the reasons for avoiding seniority as a standard in promotions.
It discourages younger employees
There are highly qualified young employees who might
also want to take the shot at a promotion. However, due to their age, they
might have a hard time meeting the standards. The idea that they can’t move up
yet even if they deserve that spot can be discouraging. Instead of working
hard, they will be lazy. Worse, they will look for a different company where
they can see the possibility of getting a promotion.
Seniority doesn’t mean excellence
Just because you’re promoting older people for the job
doesn’t mean they can do it well. Sure, they have experience, but it doesn’t
always equate to excellence. Being a senior member of the company only means
they have been with you for a long time. If they can utilize experience to
their advantage and prove their worth, they can get the post. However, closing
it off the younger employees to give them a priority isn’t the best path
It takes time for people to move up the
Waiting for older people to retire or leave the post
can be discouraging. Some of them might hug their position for a very long
time. Again, not everyone can wait for the right time. They will leave the
company, and look
for a better opportunity elsewhere.
It removes objectivity
When you promote
people for a job, there should be clear standards. Whether you set them
yourself, or you work with other people, it doesn’t matter. The point is that
it should be clear with what you want. All the candidates for the higher post
should also know the criteria. Seniority isn’t an objective criterion, and it
takes away people’s motivation.
It promotes bias
When the candidates for the post have been around for
a long time, they probably know people in the company. It signals to everyone
else that the job is reserved for them. There’s no hope for other candidates to
take the post. Again, you don’t want to create a picture of being subjective. Apart
from getting the wrong person for the higher post, you’re also wasting an
opportunity to promote someone more deserving of it.
You can show that you value
loyalty to the company in other ways, but not for job promotions. You also
don’t want to put someone in an awkward position. The person who promoted knows
that the only reason for getting that post is seniority, and it’s nothing to be
Take your time to set clear standards in promoting
people, and everyone should know it. Anyone who is interested for the position
should give it a shot.
1st and featured image from https://www.leaderonomics.com/storage/Images/P10_2810_jeffhaden_MAIN1.jpg
2nd image from http://executiverepublic.blogspot.com/2014/12/promoting-employees-based-on-seniority.html