Deciding Between Seniority or Skills Job Qualifications

Choosing between seniority and skills is the kind of decision that can be a manager’s nightmare. Make sure to know if your company has this criterion in deciding who gets a job promotion.

Some employees just put in time, doing enough to get by, but never really trying to take on responsibility or learn anything new. Maybe their reason on why they need a job promotion is solely based on money and nothing that adds to the company’s growth. Others put effort in their job and learn really fast, becoming more skilled than those hired first and worked longer.

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Choosing between seniority and skills is the kind of decision that can be a manager’s nightmare. Make sure to know if your company has this criterion in deciding who gets a job promotion.

Some employees just put in time, doing enough to get by, but never really trying to take on responsibility or learn anything new. Maybe their reason on why they need a job promotion is solely based on money and nothing that adds to the company’s growth. Others put effort in their job and learn really fast, becoming more skilled than those hired first and worked longer.

If you are running a union shop or a government office you may not have any choice but to make your decisions based on seniority. In the private sector or dealing with non-union employees things are different.

Often times a senior employee might not be interested in the increased responsibility a promotion might involve.

In other cases the difference in the amount of time an employee has been with the company may be very small.

Open and frank discussion is needed with both or all the candidates when a chance for advancement presents itself. Most employees will already know if they have not learned enough about the business and have been surpassed in skills by a junior employee.

It is a good idea to keep good personnel records, so an employee can see in writing what his achievements have or have not been.

Decide Tactfully

Tactfully pointing out that an employee has not achieved all the skills you are looking for in the person who will be promoted can open up discussion and help eliminate hard feelings. You should not discuss the achievements of other candidates.

Letting an employee know that even though they are being passed over this time there is still a chance for future promotions will go a long way toward inspiring some employees to improve their skills. If they can only respond with anger, you know you have made the right choice, by not promoting this employee.

If there is a really large difference in the time two employees have been with the company, you really have to use a lot of tact and have records to back up your decision, when choosing the employee with less time.

Even in non-union, shops, lawsuits have been brought over cases like this. There has to be quite a difference in skills to choose the junior employee.

A good way to avoid future complications is to let new hires know your criteria for promotions when they are hired.

Having informal meetings with employees, to discuss the business in general, lets you and they know how things are going and how you feel about their performance on the job.

Employees should be evaluated on an annual basis and kept informed of how the company feels about their job performance.

In today’s highly competitive market, a company has to be operating at top capacity. While seniority means a lot, an employee has to have the skills that will keep a business operating at its maximum efficiency.

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