The negative impact of denied promotion explored by Robert Half.

Not going up.

Research commissioned byRobert Half has found two in three (65 per cent) Hong Kong business leaders have denied a promotion to an employee in the past three years. With awarding promotions akin to acknowledging hard work and offering a vote of confidence in working style and strategic capabilities, business leaders meticulously look for a range of skills when considering candidates for promotion. According to the research, a lack of leadership potential was cited by almost half of respondents (46 per cent) as the top reason for denying a promotion. Other reasons include lack of experience (43 per cent), lack of soft skills (42 per cent), lack of technical skills (38 per cent) and the availability of a more qualified internal (23 per cent) or external candidate (7 per cent).

Robert Half say that Hong Kong business leaders do recognise the potential negative impacts of denying promotions to employees. Consequently, business leaders are implementing several measures to keep employees motivated. Almost half (46 per cent) have let employees work within a different team while 42 per cent have given an employee a unique project to work on. Other common measures include allowing employees to shadow other employees (37 per cent), delegating responsibilities (34 per cent), and respectively calling for their input in challenging situations and providing training opportunities (21 per cent).

“While being offered a promotion is an incredibly rewarding experience, failure to secure a promotion can demotivate employees, and make them lose their enthusiasm and confidence in their role and professional abilities,” says Elaine Lam, associate director of Robert Half Hong Kong. “This is why employers need to take the necessary measures to make sure those team members still feel sufficiently engaged and motivated in their role by for example providing them with exciting projects, new responsibilities or other team members to work with.

“Being denied a promotion is undoubtedly a disappointing experience but that doesn’t mean there won’t be more career progression opportunities in the future. Because of this, employees must recognise the importance of resilience in the face of disappointment and maintain motivation and continuous improvement on their path to eventually achieving their goals. If employees feel their chances of climbing the career ladder are limited or non-existent at their current company, it might be time for them to consider other employment options,” Lam concludes.

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