A former Google exec explains the biggest mistakes employers make when promoting someone

Promotions are often a time to celebrate an employee. Many people love the recognition and the praise, but a manager can go too far with public accolades. In her book “Radical Candor: Be A Kick-Arse Boss Without Losing Your Humanity,Kim Scott explores finding the sweet spot in management, somewhere between obnoxiously aggressive and ruinously empathetic. She discusses the two key flaws many managers have when promoting employees. Following is a transcript of the video.

Managers tend to make two mistakes around promotions. The first mistake is to make a big hoopla over promotions. When you are promoting somebody, you’re rewarding them for doing great work and you’re giving them additional responsibilities. And you’re also probably giving them some additional pay and in some cases additional stock, and there’s enough extrinsic recognition in a promotion that comes through improved compensation and so on and so forth.

You don’t need to give people public recognition around a promotion because then you’re just hooking into ego. And you don’t want to connect ego and promotion too much in your organisation. It just creates a bad — creates promotion obsession. And promotion obsession is really unhealthy for the people who have been promoted but it’s also unhealthy for those who haven’t been promoted. There’s often going to be on your team a lot of people who are great at their job but not necessarily gunning for the next job or not necessarily — they don’t necessarily have the skills for the next job and if you make the whole purpose of work about getting a promotion, you’re guaranteeing that the majority of people on your team are going to be unhappy every promotion cycle.

Another mistake that managers make around promotion is they save up all the best performance ratings and the biggest bonuses for the people who are on a path to promotion and this is really unfair to the people who are great at their job and doing just as great work at that moment in time but who are not on a path to promotion. If you take a look at performance in any given time period bonuses and performance rating should be about performance in that period. Not about future promotion. When these people who get promoted, get promoted that’s when they get extra pay. They shouldn’t get extra pay for that period.

Produced by Sam Rega

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