Provide a 250-word reply to the following post using at least one scholarly article.
Bioglass, Inc. specializes in sales of a wide array of glass products. One area of the company, the commercial sales division (CSD), specializes in selling high-tech mirrors and microscopes and photographic lenses. Sales associates in CSD are responsible for selling the glass products to corporate clients. In CSD there are four levels of sales associates, ranging in pay from $28,000 to $76,000 per year. There are also four levels of managerial positions in CSD; those positions range in pay from $76,000 to $110,000 per year (that’s what the division president makes).
Tom Caldwell has been a very effective sales associate. He has consistently demonstrated good sales techniques in his 17 years with Bioglass and has a large and loyal client base. Over the years, Tom has risen from the lowest level of sales associate to the highest. He has proven himself successful at each stage. An entry-level management position in CSD opened up last year, and Tom was a natural candidate. Although several other candidates were given consideration, Tom was the clear choice for the position.
However, once in the position, Tom had a great deal of difficulty being a manager. He was not accustomed to delegating and rarely provided feedback or guidance to the people he supervised. Although he set goals for himself, he never set performance goals for his workers. Morale in Tom’s group was low, and group performance suffered. The company felt that demoting Tom back to sales would be disastrous for him and present the wrong image to other employees; firing such a loyal employee was considered unacceptable. Therefore, Bioglass decided to keep Tom where he was but never promote him again. It was also considering enrolling Tom in some expensive managerial development programs to enhance his management skills.
Meanwhile, Tom’s replacement, although successful at the lower three levels of sales associate positions, was having a great deal of difficulty with the large corporate contracts that the highest-level sales associates must service. Two of Tom’s biggest clients had recently left Bioglass for a competitor. CSD was confused about how such a disastrous situation had developed when they seemed to make all the right decisions.
- What is the likely cause of CSD’s problems?
A drawback to internal promotion is that your pool of employees that you can select from is limited and may not have all the KSAO’s needed to be effective at the position. CSD faces a common promotional challenge in this case as they promoted a highly capable salesperson to a management role and the promotion does not seem to be a good fit for the organization or the employee. This is likely because the competitive, independent skills needed as a salesperson, have less value as a team leader. Team leaders need to work together, delegate, support, train, and motivate others to sell more products and better serve customers.
The organization needs to carefully select and train the right people for each vacant position and if an employee is struggling in their position, it is an organization’s responsibility to help support that employee to do better. This may require training, mentoring, or even college classes, but it is not helpful or fair allowing a failing employee to stay in their position. If an employee is failing to meet expectations, they likely are not enjoying their role any more than the subordinates that they are failing to support. Tom should be given the opportunity to improve his skills and if in an acceptable timeline he cannot meet minimum expectations he should know his next step is to go back to being a salesperson or finding a new position that he can be successful in.
- How might CSD, and Bioglass more generally, make better promotion decisions in the future? Be specific.
Bioglass must determine if relying on an internal promotional policy gives it the best chance to remain competitive. Faria & Mixon (2020) find with internal promotional policies because the labor market is limited by internal candidates, it makes it difficult to pursue a competitive hiring model. In other words, an organization’s human capital is limited by the skills, ability, and performance of existing employees.
If Bioglass and CSD are going to continue to utilize an internal promotional policy, they need to put more thought and planning into employee skills inventory and ensure the right KSAO’s are considered for each position. Heneman et al. (2019) find selecting the right KSAO’s or “predictors” requires a well-crafted selection plan. Planning can be improved by maintaining employee skills inventory and understanding future needs. A healthy planning process can help an organization to develop the right people for the right positions so that both the employee and the organization have a better chance for success.
- In general, what role should performance appraisals play in internal selection decisions? Are there some cases in which they are more relevant than others? Explain.
Performance appraisals can be a helpful tool in the selection process. This tool can help leaders get a better understanding of the employee’s past experiences and outcomes with the organization. Performance appraisals can give an organization a good general indicator as to a person’s attitude, professionalism/behaviors, quality of work, and ability to meet deadlines under stress. These are all benefits of having records of past appraisals. Faria & Mixon (2020) recognize that the growth of the internal labor market is based on past employee behavior and performance. Generally speaking, past behaviors and performance are indicative of how an employee will perform in the future.
Performance appraisals can have great value in situations when both positions share some of the same skill sets. For example, if both the past job and promotional opportunity require planning, multitasking, communication, deadlines, or similar KSAO then appraisals can help an organization see how the promotional candidate was previously appraised in those areas. Appraisals can give great insight into how a promotional candidate may perform, reducing the risk and speculation for the organization, but this only works if the skill sets are transferable from one position to another. If there are limited shared skillsets required for one job to the other, then the appraisals should carry less weight. Appraisals can only help predict the future based on past performances, and if an employee has not been required to “perform” certain tasks in the past, then an organization can only get a general idea of how an employee may respond and perform their new responsibilities.
Heneman, H. G., Judge, T., & Kammeyer-Mueller, J. (2019). Staffing organizations. Pangloss Industries.
Faria, J. R., & Mixon, F. G. (2020). The peter and dilbert principles applied to academe. Economics of Governance, 21(2), 115-132. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10101-020-00235-6