Why Employees Turn Down Promotions

Why Employees Turn Down Promotions

It's not them, it's you. Here's the real reason someone doesn't want to take on a bigger role.

It is easy to mistakenly think that any person you offer a promotion will immediately accept the position (after a brief and expected salary negotiation, of course). Everyone wants to move up the corporate ladder, make a bit more money, and have that ever-so-satisfying moment of updating their LinkedIn title, right? Unfortunately, in my experience, this is not always the case. 

There are several concerns that an employee might have that would make them hesitant to accept a new role or title change. From issues in your broader company culture to an imbalanced workload-benefit ratio, here are three of the top reasons your staff is turning down your promotion offers–and how you can alter your business practices to empower them to confidently take on new roles. 

1. The benefits do not outweigh the increased responsibility. 

There are many reasons why a title bump without a significant salary increase may be the right move for a member of your team. Along with satisfying a feeling of recognition, small title advances help staff members know they are progressing while mapping out a clear trajectory for their career within the company. 

 

However, there are pros and cons for doing this, and most of your employees will be thoughtfully weighing out both before making the decision. You have to put yourself objectively in their shoes and look at the role as a whole. Would you take a title bump if it meant adding 30 percent more work to your already full plate with nearly zero added benefits? Offering unique perks, actionable opportunities for career advancement, and making amendments to your employees’ workload may be necessary to lightening the burden of a new position and keeping your top talent happy and motivated. 

2. It simply isn’t the right fit. 

If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times: there is no use shoving a round peg into a square hole. Promotions come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes what a manager feels is a natural next step for their team member is not something that aligns with their own business development goals. 

Making it a priority to listen to your employee’s goals is vital to knowing if their long-term career intentions are the same as yours. Perhaps their true passion is to excel in event planning, but this promotion would make external marketing the main focus of their day-to-day. Goals can change on a dime, of course, but knowing your employees’ passions and plans for the future can help you better understand how they might feel about a change in responsibilities and direction. 

3. They feel they are being set up to fail. 

Earning a promotion can be very exciting. It can also cause a wave of anxiety–especially if you believe you will be thrown into the deep end with zero training and unrealistic performance expectations. 

If an employee does not feel they will have access to the resources they need to excel in their new job, a promotion may seem like a burden instead of an opportunity. When promoting people who are still green and inexperienced (either in management, technical skills, or both), you have to be clear about the training and tools that will be made available to help them succeed. Whether it is online training, a mentorship program, or weekly one-on-ones with you, spelling out their path forward will help your staff feel supported and leave them primed to accept your offer. 

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After more than 14,000 placements and nearly 20 years in business, it's fair to say we've learned a thing or two about matching top talent with great companies.

Connect with top talent now!
After more than 14,000 placements and nearly 20 years in business, it's fair to say we've learned a thing or two about matching top talent with great companies.