Basis of Promotion – Merit vs Seniority | Sound Promotion Policy

Basis of Promotion – Merit vs. Seniority

Promotion is made either on the basis of seniority or on the basis of merit or both. Normally, management of any organization prefers merit. But the trade unions and workers favor seniority. Seniority means the length of service put in by an employee in the working organization Merit, on the other hand, means the qualification which an employee possess. We shall now discuss the advantages and limitations of these bases briefly:

Advantages of Promotion based on Seniority

1. Seniority is an objective basis for promotion and so each employee is sure of getting promotion.

2. It develops a sense of loyalty among the employees and the morale of the employees will be higher.

3. It limits the scope for favoritism, casteism, nepotism, etc.

4. It avoids disputes among employees regarding promotion.

5. It encourages the employees to work hard and efficiently.

6. If seniority is accepted as the basis for promotion, management can’t abuse their privilege of selecting the best man.

Disadvantages of Seniority based promotion

1. Since the employees are sure of getting promotion, it makes them lethargic in performing their duties.

2. New brilliant employees will be left with no motivating factor for improving their performance, if eligibility for better jobs depends just upon their length of service. This leads to greater labour turnover. As a result, overall production of the concern will be very much affected.

3. Talented and average workers are considered alike. Promotion is made by giving weightage only to seniority, and efficiency of the workers is not at all considered.

Advantages of Promotion based on Merit

1. Since efficiency and talents are rewarded, it encourages the employees to increase their knowledge in maintaining a high level of productivity.

2. It helps in putting the most productive and competent person for specialized jobs.

3. New employees are also encouraged to improve their performance as promotion is made on the basis of competence, capability and efficiency.

4. It results in overall improvement of the organization.

Disadvantages of Merit based promotion

1. It may result in partiality, nepotism, favoritism, casteism, etc., by the management.

2. Senior employees in the organization may become unsatisfied and they may indulge in certain activities that may lead to industrial unrest, strikes, lockouts, etc.

3. Merit as a basis of promotion is normally opposed by workers and their representatives. They give more importance to the seniority factor.

4. Promotion of employees on the basis of merit requires proper method of performance appraisal or merit rating. But, normally formulation of correct method of performance appraisal may not be done.

From the above discussion, it is clear that each one has its own merits and demerits. The best method of promotion should be one which is a combination of both i.e., Seniority and Merit. Merit should be given primary importance but together with merit due weightage should be given to seniority of the employees also. Seniority should be considered only where the merit of competing employees is substantially equal. But, when the qualifications are different, only efficient one should be promoted.

Essentials of a Sound Promotion Policy

It is necessary on the part of every organization to have a well formulated promotion policy so that it can be executed properly whenever any vacancy arises. Following are the essentials of a sound promotion policy.

1. Management’s policy regarding filling up of better posts through promotion should be specifically stated and truly adopted.

2. Proper Merit Rating methods should be followed to evaluate the performance of workers which will help the management to decide on promotion.

3. Various jobs within the organization should be well defined and rated. There should be an orderly arrangement of various jobs according to its ratings so that the order of promotion can be made well known to all.

4. Promotion should be made on the combined basis of merit and seniority. Hence, promotion policy to be sound should give due weightage to merit as well as seniority as the basis of promotion.

5. Proper training methods should be formulated with a view to prepare employees for promotion to better jobs.

6. Every job in an organization should be analyzed to determine the basic requirement of such jobs as to ability, experience, education, skill, etc. Based on the analysis, a chart showing all these requirements should be prepared. This will help the employees to prepare themselves for higher posts.

7. In any case, no employee should be compelled to accept promotion.