Why the Seniority Rule for Promoting Employees is a Bad Idea

Promoting Employees

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

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 forward.

It takes time for people to move up the ladder 

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 proud of. 

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.

Photo Attribution:

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