How To Avoid Screwing An Employee Over When Denying A Promotion

Recently I provided advice to employees who think they had been screwed over because they were passed over for a promotion. In that post, the employee was told all promotions were on hold due to budgetary reasons, only to see a peer get promoted while she was away on vacation.

Read So, You Got Screwed Over – 9 Ways To Handle Being Denied A Promotion

There are two-sides to every story and to be fair, the employee at the centre of this did not have her best year, and she may not have been a fit for the new job.

What is the issue?

In a nutshell, the Boss lied.

  • The Boss lied about the company’s moratorium on promotions.
  • The Boss lied about this employee’s performance?

Yes, I said lie. The boss was dishonest. Period.

The result of the lie?

  • This Boss has created employee who has lost trust and confidence in the company
  • The story has shared inside and outside the company and diminishing their reputation
  • The Company might lose a 5-year employee
  • And it begs the question … Who else is skulking around bitter and angry instead of productive and doing good work?

How could this have been avoided?

I understand why the Boss said that there were no promotions, he didn’t want to open himself up to the next obvious conversations about the employee’s performance and fit and why they likely would not be considered for the promotion.

Read Does My Butt Look Big In This Dress – 2 Phrases A Boss Needs To Respect The Truth And Your Team

I say that if you aren’t sure how to have honest conversations with your employees you should get professional development to learn how to.

If you don’t or can’t do it, consider turning in your boss badge, because hard and honest conversations are a big part of your job.

My Final Thoughts

It is easy to blame the employee or the boss in this circumstance as each bears a share of responsibility.

But to me, this story tells me more about the culture of the entire organization.

An organization that put an ill-prepared supervisor into a position where a lie seemed like the best response.

Shame on them.