Why HR is blocking your promotion
Flickr user Tallent Show
(MoneyWatch) Dear Evil HR Lady,
I joined a large company two years ago, fresh out of school. I am learning a lot and enjoying my work. Because I'm a fresh college grad, my job "band" is one below that of all my fellow teammates, which makes sense given everyone else has at least 10 years of experience. Over the past year, I've busted my tail, and in April my boss let me know that she was putting me on the list for a band promotion -- same job, but I'll be more on par with my teammates both in title and compensation. It's now July and we just had our mid-year review. I got a pretty solid review, which will be submitted next week. Should I have heard something by now regarding this promotion?
My boss has told me she has been following up with our HR manager regularly, but HR is refusing to commit just yet. Are they waiting for the review to be formally submitted before they bump me up? Do I need to do anything else other than follow up with my boss every now and then? Also, I know our company has a policy of waiting at least two years before a promotion can happen, but I've cleared that hurdle. Thanks, love your articles and perspectives in the corporate world!
First, congratulations on a successful transition from college to the working world. It sounds like you're doing great and have a boss that's happy with your performance. So good job!
For now, though, you need to wait for the review to be formally submitted. Big companies have all sorts of policies and procedures, and they are almost always followed for people at your level. (Exceptions are often made for executives, but that isn't relative to your situation.)
Here's what is most likely going on. The company sets a budget for how much money is available for "growth promotions." Growth promotions (or "promotion in place," in HR lingo), which is what you're up for, are when you get more money and a better title but still do a different job. A regular, or bona fide, promotion is when you are assuming a vacant position. The money for those slots usually come from a different source within the organization.
Company budgets are limited. If your boss gives you a promotion, that means she can't give one to another employee. More important, her managerial peers can't give one to someone else. And furthermore, it limits what your boss's boss can do.
So promoting you isn't purely a decision on your boss's part. In fact, I would have (metaphorically) bopped her on the head for telling you that you'd be getting a promotion until all the details had been worked out. Not only does your boss have to agree to it, but people up the food-chain have to agree that that's the best use of the funds.
All managers think their employees are the most deserving of the limited funds available for promotions (if they are good managers, that is), so there is often significant debate over how to divide the budget. The higher up the chain your manager is, the easier it will be for her to win this round.
I can see why HR is pushing back on this. Not because you're not fabulous (because you are!), but because you're brand new to the workforce and just passed the two-year minimum requirement for a promotion. Also, your boss wants to move you to a band that is on par with your far more experienced colleagues. I'm not saying you don't deserve it. But I am saying these are the things I would want to discuss with one of my managers before a promotion was approved.
In your case, employee reviews haven't even been submitted yet, and it sounds like your manager is actively championing you case. These are great signs. Let your manager take care of this. You can follow up with in her mid-July and then again two weeks later if things don't appear to be moving forward. Hopefully, she'll be able to pull it off, and you'll get the promotion you deserve.
Have a workplace dilemma? Send your questions to EvilHRLady@gmail.com.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Tallent Show
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