That Corporate Ladder

Another of the items that came out of our employee survey was that there isn’t a clearly defined list of what’s expected of us for promotion, blah blah blah. It led to everyone asking whether there was, defined or otherwise, a career ladder here at my company. It was an issue because most often, the folks on hot-button projects (even those with almost no role) were far more likely to see promotion than anyone who took on major, but less visible, projects. Folks on my team had started asking after such a thing immediately after I got here, and I found documentation not long ago showing that they’d been asking since 2007.

It got kicked around and management played the waiting game for a while, blaming this or that other team for the delays. But they finally just announced the career ladder today: our development system, what’s expected of us to get to move up a rung, etc. It would have been all very exiting. Unlucky for us, they had an escape clause: promotions will only be based on ‘business need’.

Now, as sensible an approach as that is, it means that nothing changes. It’s a perfect little disclaimer. People will still get ‘senior’ and ‘lead’ tacked to their name, and it still won’t matter how much work you put in if you’re not on a major project that’s getting loads of attention. Luckily I’m on such a project, and in fact they announced already that they intend to promote me once said project has given me enough political points for a promotion.

One of the other interesting items that they mentioned in the presentation is that, based on the survey, most of the IT people here view promotion as the primary means of being rewarded for a good job. So those rewards are now also based on business need, and no mention of trying to ramp up a reward system to take over on that at all.

It’s all this weird circular logic. The experiment goes on.