Handling Prematurely Promoted Employees

Dan Drew

CTO, VP Engineering at Didja Inc



"When you inherit a team, you'll often end up with employees who have been given promotions that they aren't qualified for. The issue here is that you are then faced with evaluating them based on the title and salary they have been given."

Actions taken

"It's tempting for a lot of managers to ignore this and tell people they're doing great but that's not good for the company. If you have one person with a title working below the level of his peers who have the same title (and receive the same salary), you're creating unfair discrepancies within the company." "It's important to be upfront with the person who is in too high of a title and to explain what you expect from someone in their role. In addition, it's important to provide the context of why it's a problem and how it may become an issue when it's time for raises. By making them aware, you can provide them with your expectations versus how they are currently performing, and you can provide them with an opportunity to improve."

Lessons learned

"Don't ignore this type of situation - be proactive and upfront about the situation so that your employee can attempt to improve. Typically, this is all you can do. A few companies will recommend discussing a demotion with employees and this allows people to succeed at a level they're comfortable with. However, people tend to not like being demoted, so will choose not to have this happen."

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Dan Drew

CTO, VP Engineering at Didja Inc

Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyDecision MakingCulture DevelopmentEngineering ManagementPerformance MetricsPerformance ReviewsFeedback TechniquesCareer Growth

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