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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

5 Factors to consider BEFORE you PROMOTE someone


As a follow-up to one of my most-read blogs, “Never promote hastily” April 30, 2012


I wanted to list some common mistakes made when promoting talent internally.  Similar to the hiring process, it is very important for management to recognize some deep-seated issues that could positively or negatively influence your decision process.  These situations come into play when you have been a colleague or supervisor of the candidate and can have a very negative impact on the overall success of your future operations.

1.      Supervisor prejudice
When relationships occur between supervisor and candidate, there are instances that promotes favoritism which can interfere with evaluating a candidate’s performance on a fair and consistent basis. For accurate performance ratings, direct supervisors should have influence but perhaps not be intimately involved in the final decision. Great care should be taken to look at the candidate’s historical body of work and focus primarily on the candidate’s performance! What responsibilities he will have in the future and how closely he has been schooled in those responsibilities? Avoid considering any non-performance related factors when making judgments.
2.      AH-AH Factor
The "AH-AH" Factor is generally first seen in communications where the candidate is quite charismatic.  This charisma can often influence the ratings for other competencies. Considering our charismatic candidate who receives a high rating in oral communication, there is often the tendency for interviewers to take for granted they also have high ratings in problem solving or creativity. When someone is able to bedazzle you with their communication skills, it often taints the interview process.  Obviously, careful consideration and group consensus needs to be used to help minimize any inaccurate performance ratings and possibly a poor choice for the promotion.
3.      Non-Use of extreme ratings
Let’s say you have a 1 to 5 rating scale, but no one uses either the 1 as a low point, or the 5 as the highpoint.  In essence, you are now using a 3 point scale.  Oftentimes, this creates what is called the “settling” factor where there is an over-abundance of middle scores.  This can create a scale that gives a truly inaccurate score as far as competencies or deficiencies that the candidate has.
4.      Harshness~Leniency
Depending on the panelists that are put together for the decision making process, you could have a “jury” who is either too strict or too easy.  Great care should be taken to have a panel that offers a wide range of “historical ranking” so that the “super stern” or “Easygoing” panelists will merge and give a truer outlook on the total candidate. The goal is we want to give a fair and consistent grading system where our aim is to make sure we do not overlook good candidates or sign off on poor decisions!
5.      Similar Backgrounds & Styles
People have a natural tendency to prefer people who remind them about where they came from. This is a natural inclination but goes 180° versus the needs for diversity.  This is not to say that you should necessarily not promote this person, but you need to be able to prove that this candidate is the best choice for the position.  Focus on the behaviors, the specific skill sets that they bring to the plate. 

This is certainly one of the biggest problems that smaller companies have in the ability to develop the key people to maintain and expand the growth process.  Ideally, we want to support, nurture and develop these people internally.   View these 5 steps whenever you are about to promote someone.  They will help you make a good decision for the long term!

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