It's advisable to adopt equitable reward system
FROM AN HR manager's point of view, a promotion is a dreadful thing. Not the one he is likely to get of course, but the one that he will have to confer on some employee in recognition of his talent, hard work, drive or some such dubious distinction. It is not that they are inherently bad people. But they are aware, or get wise, in time to the fact that a promotion is a double-edged sword. It is a cause for as much backslapping as backstabbing. It gives birth to as much joy and jubilation as envy, jealousy and the rest of those things that make an office interesting. For every employee whose day is made sweeter by a promotion, there are five who are all the more bitter because of it.
The vast corporate landscape that shrouds the world today is dotted by HR executives who wake up in a cold sweat in the dead of the night wishing they wouldn't have to go to work in the morning. Paradoxically, promotions have become a major cause for attrition in companies. Before you roll up your sleeves and shout `blasphemy' allow me to explain. I assure you I come here to bury the problem, not praise it.
There are many reasons for this undercurrent of resentment that succeeds a promotion. The chief of them is human nature of course, of which ego is an integral part. It automatically follows that when somebody else gets what you want, you have an overwhelming urge to either shake his hand or hit him with a cricket bat. This latter group is the one that gives nightmares to HR managers. They are mostly afraid that somehow that cricket bat may mysteriously direct itself at them. Bleary-eyed, semi-homicidal employees with hurt egos usually seek an outlet that they find in the HR manager's cabin. It has happened in the past and it is happening in the present. But the good news is it need not happen in the future.
This is what you could do:
a. Equitable reward system: This is easier said than done. There are a couple of things that need to be defined. First of all, what is equitable? Equitable is a highly subjective creature. What is fair to you need not necessarily be fair to me. However, as with all questions that involve ethics, an objective, one might even say altruistic, line of thinking is needed. If you give someone a promotion or a raise, do make sure he deserves it.
b. Team over individual: Wherever possible, reward the team instead of an individual employee. While it is a good idea to single out an employee for praise, it is an even better notion to pat the whole team on the back. Not only does this bring down resentment levels, it motivates the entire team to perform the next time around.
c. It's not about the money: Actually it is. But don't let your employees get whiff of that fact. Make sure that rewards are more a matter of prestige than mere monetary gains. When you put money into the deal, things immediately get sour. It tends to spoil the whole show.
Again, we cannot stress the fact enough that these are but mere guidelines. They are not foolproof and they will have to be customised to individual requirements. But with some luck, and a little bit of gumption, it could just be the tonic for which your appraisal system has desperately been waiting.
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