Friday, November 13, 2009

Should employers offer "involuntary" or "under the table" promotions with "direct reports"? Could be dangerous

Should companies promote information technology “individual contributors” involuntarily?

It happened to me once, in 1988. I had worked in monthly and daily billing with a “group leader” and the manager decided to have me and the other person switch places. Then a third person was put in the group. Then the manager made me project leader, which in that company was a “having direct reports” job.

Companies often have team leaders or project leaders who make assignments informally without formal authority. Back in the 1970s, that’s how it worked in a company with the New York State Medicaid (MMIS) contract.

Or sometimes, someone will be a project leader and the manager asks the project leader to fill out a performance appraisal on the “subordinate” anyway.

This may even cross corporate lines, when contractors (from staffing companies) are part of the team. Sometimes the project leaders are contractors, but are asked to do appraisals anyway.

I’ve often wondered about the legal implications of all this. For one thing, a person with direct reports has to be much more wary of his own personal “online reputation” today, or risk, retrospectively at least, the risk of triggering a potential “hostile workplace” incident if there are underlying tensions.

Companies should be careful in developing promotion policies and make sure that direct reports are a welcome “responsibility.”

See coordinated post on main blog today.

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