THE BLOG

Merit vs. Seniority: Picking The Right Employees To Promote

04/06/2016 8:02 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
NEW! HIGHLIGHT AND SHARE
Highlight text to share via Facebook and Twitter
Andy Roberts via Getty Images
Pole lifting rubber duck with hook in its head

One of the most confounding decisions that organizations face is whether to promote employees on the basis of merit or seniority.

Seniority represents several benefits: these employees have a deep understanding of the company's culture, vision and goals. More importantly, they have the benefit of experience on their side, which is a critical attribute especially when it comes to selection for higher leadership positions. It is often assumed that a more seasoned, experienced individual is more suitable to lead a team. That being said, merit-based promotions have gained in popularity over the years, and with good reason.

If promotions are based purely on seniority, employees may not be as motivated to perform exceptionally...

An organization that emphasizes merit-based promotions fosters a culture of healthy competition and productivity. Performance-based promotions are also effective in creating a sense of accountability among employees. If promotions are based purely on seniority, employees may not be as motivated to perform exceptionally, considering that promotion is guaranteed on the completion of a certain period within the company. Basing promotions on merit also comes with the added advantage of enhanced productivity. Employees are held responsible for their own career trajectory; they work hard to earn the desired advancement.

High achievers are often characterized as individuals who are driven, hard-working and ambitious. They seek to provide value and grow their professional spheres. Having a system in place which recognizes high-performing employees will ensure that these individuals receive the acknowledgment they deserve for their efforts. On the contrary, in a company with a seniority-based promotion policy, high-performers are more inclined to become disengaged or start seeking opportunities elsewhere in order to accelerate their professional goals and gain the anticipated recognition.

It's essential to have a well-rounded, robust promotion policy that incorporates seniority as a valid criterion when considering promotions.

Those with a contrasting viewpoint might say that merit-based promotions can lead to ambiguity and speculation of bias in certain instances. A promotion policy based on merit needs to be structured and clear to avoid conjecture. It is crucial that employers detail a systematized policy that ensures a consistent, impartial process of selection for promotions.

That being said, at a time when one of the greatest HR challenges faced by organizations is talent retention and succession planning, it is fundamental to ensure that the senior employees feel appreciated and respected for their long service and overall commitment to the organization.

Therefore, it's essential to have a well-rounded, robust promotion policy that incorporates seniority as a valid criterion when considering promotions. While it is apparent that an individual's impact on an organization's growth ought to be a decisive factor in their future success with the company, it might be equally important to reward those who have been steadfast in their contribution. Companies should also give sufficient weightage to an employee's track record established over a period of time; this includes longevity in the organization, experience and loyalty. An organization that aims to recognize its most valuable assets needs to exercise thoughtful judgement while gauging the best choices for various positions in order to select a fine blend of high-performing individuals and those who have established a solid foundation in the company.

Like Us On Facebook |
Follow Us On Twitter |
Contact HuffPost India

Also see on HuffPost:

55 Images Of India's Stunning Topography On Earth Day

More On This Topic