Magazine article HRMagazine

Solutions: Advice from HR Knowledge Advisors

Magazine article HRMagazine

Solutions: Advice from HR Knowledge Advisors

Article excerpt

We are considering demoting an employee. How should the demotion be handled?

Demotions may be proposed for many reasons, including poor performance, misconduct, the elimination of a position or organizational restructuring. Sometimes, an employee may even request reduced responsibilities.

If the person is being demoted for misconduct, unethical behavior or other disciplinary reasons, it is unlikely that the demotion will correct the problem. Moreover, other employees may interpret a demotion in these circumstances to mean that the employer does not take misconduct seriously.

When a demotion is necessary, the following steps can make the transition smoother:

* Show respect for the employee when discussing the demotion. Convey to the individual that the company wants to retain the employee and to ensure that he or she will be productive.

* Clearly communicate the perfomancerelated reasons for the demotion. State why the company has chosen to demote the employee rather than fire him or her. This could help the employee respond positively to the transition.

* Outline the new position, the transition timeline and whether a pay reduction will occur.

Be ready to respond if the employee asks for more time to improve or requests a transfer. Also be prepared in case the employee responds with anger; if he or she is combative, it may be necessary to escort the employee out of the office.

If the employee accepts the demotion, work out a communication plan with the employee and the employee's supervisor. Determine what information will be shared, who will be told and when.

Follow the company's disciplinary and performance management processes. This is critical to a defense if the employee challenges the action in court.

Retaining an employee who may have a negative attitude toward the company is a risk, as negativity can spread quickly to other employees. Monitor the transition and respond quickly with appropriate corrective actions if needed.

In the best circumstances, demotions can provide an employer with the opportunity to retain a valuable employee while allowing the individual to be productive in a role that best matches his or her knowledge, skills and abilities.

[Author Affiliation]

-Edward Yost, SPHR-CA

After a company closes, what records should be retained and for how long? …

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