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Demoting your staff? Think again
NEARLY a third, or 30 per cent, of business leaders in Singapore have demoted an employee at their company, according to findings from an independently commissioned study by specialist recruitment consultancy Robert Half.
The top reason for demoting their staff was when the employee was not succeeding in a newly promoted role. Almost half (46 per cent) of the bosses cited this as a reason, Robert Half said on Tuesday.
Poor performance was the second most common reason (37 per cent), followed by organisational restructurings or the position having been eliminated (15 per cent).
Only 2 per cent of the employers said the demotion was voluntary on the part of the employee.
In terms of the staff's reaction to being demoted, more than half (54 per cent) of the respondents said the employees handled the news as gracefully as possible. A fifth (21 per cent) said the employees became upset and lost interest in their work, while another fifth (18 per cent) saw a strong reaction where the employees quit in response to the demotion.
Only 7 per cent of the bosses observed the demoted staff taking a proactive approach and focusing on excelling in their new position.
Robert Half developed the study while an independent research firm surveyed 225 bosses in Singapore in January this year.
The poll is part of Robert Half's international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job and workplace trends as well as talent management. It did not measure whether the demotions were accompanied by pay cuts.
Companies need to be "very clear" in communicating the reason for the demotion, what the consequences are, what the new position entails, and what options the employee has, said Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, managing director of Robert Half Singapore. As for employees, staying professional and keeping emotions in check will be the best way to move forward, regardless of why they were demoted, he said.
When dealing with an involuntary demotion, workers might want to ask their bosses for slightly more time in the current position to improve, and also request for an outline of the transition plan, he noted. They may also need to seek emotional support from friends, family, or mentors outside the workplace.
For those who were demoted for restructuring reasons, Mr Imbert-Bouchard recommended that they quickly identify and seek new skills required for other roles within the same company.
"Demotions for performance issues, on the other hand, should be seen as both a wake-up call and an opportunity to reflect and gain constructive feedback for improvement and future advancement," he added.