Merge's Blog

Yet another example of foolish short-sighted company policies!

Over the years, I have often blogged about foolish short-sighted company policies and management practices – forced ranking, archaic performance reviews, the requirement that employees substantiate bereavement leave, assuming that attendance equals productivity – to name just a few.  Well, what is really mind-boggling to me is that the list continues to grow.

Today’s example of foolish short-sighted company policies and/or management practices that is irking me: that a manager can unilaterally deny an employee’s application for an internal transfer or promotion.

Unilaterally denying internal transfers or promotions is just wrong!

Now before you start on me, I am well aware of the reasons that managers might want this discretion.  I fully understand that constant turnover in a department is disruptive and difficult.  Sure, you want employees to be in positions long enough so that they are not just making their way up the learning curve, but also around for a reasonable period to master responsibilities and make positive improvements in their roles.  I get that!

But far too often, I come across managers who hold employees back for no other reason than they want to eliminate (or reduce) interruption and instability in their own departments.  For purely selfish reasons, they block their (good) people from moving on to other favourable opportunities.  And because they have been given the unilateral discretion to deny their employees these possibilities, they do exactly that.  Ironically though, these actions don’t usually benefit either the manager (or the organization) in the long-term.  Good employees who are obstructed from achieving their own aspirations get demoralized and demotivated, and eventually just leave the organization and walk …. usually right over to the competitors.

There is a reasonable alternative

So what’s the alternative?  That there be a time-limit.  Either upfront, as part of the initial job offer, or if it’s policies you want, as part of an established company policy, there should be a time limit after which employees can freely apply for job transfers or promotions.  The time limit could be anywhere from one to three years, depending on the nature of the job and the company.  Managers can still have discretion in shortening the interval, or as long as they get agreement from the employee, lengthening the period, but once the employee has been in the job for this minimum time limit, a manager cannot one-sidedly hold them back from new opportunities,

Foolish short-sighted company policies and/or management practices are ill-advised simply because they do more harm than good.  To me, continually denying an employee’s application for an internal transfer or promotion is a classic example.  I’ve offered one solution around this antiquated practice, but I’d love to know what you think.  What are your feelings on this topic?  Do you agree with me?  Do you have other solutions to offer?  Please share your experiences by commenting below.

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