Should I consider turning down a promotion? Ask HR

·4 min read

Johnny C. Taylor Jr. tackles your human resources questions as part of a series for USA TODAY. Taylor is president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, the world's largest HR professional society and author of "Reset: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval.”

The questions are submitted by readers, and Taylor's answers below have been edited for length and clarity.

Have a question? Do you have an HR or work-related question you’d like me to answer? Submit it here.

Question: I was recently offered a promotion. However, the position comes with a great deal of extra responsibility and I am managing some situations in my personal life that require much of my time and energy. Would it be detrimental to my career to turn down this opportunity? – Edward

Johnny C. Taylor Jr.: Congratulations on receiving a promotion offer. Even though the timing may not be ideal for you, view this offer as recognition of your acumen, work performance, and character. As you contemplate this opportunity, step back from your day-to-day outlook to assess this offer from a fresher, broader viewpoint.

Keep in mind, your hesitancy in accepting this promotion is a normal one. This means you respect and understand the commitment required to be successful. However, it is important to weigh the short- and long-term implications for accepting and declining the promotion. Fully assess the level of commitment required for the position and the reality of the competing issues in your personal life.

While I can’t speak to the exact circumstances you’re facing, you may find your management more understanding about your dilemma than you think. They aren’t immune to the challenges of work-life integration. Start a dialogue with them about the opportunity. Let them know what appeals to you about the position and discuss your potential obstacles.

Your manager may have insight on strategies, support, and alternatives you may have not considered. There may be more flexibility in the position than you know. Perhaps, you can adopt a delayed or more gradual transition into the role as you sort through your pressing personal commitments.

Get a clear picture of what it would take for you to be successful in the role. Rarely do people seamlessly step into a new position; more often people grow into it. Is there a pathway for you to grow into the new role? Gauge if you can confidently meet the responsibility of the position with proper support.

Should you choose to decline the offer, do so respectfully and with sincere gratitude. If you elect to accept this opportunity, bring you’re A-game. I wish you much success on whichever path you take.

Job hunting: How do I prepare for a group interview? Ask HR

Starting over: Can I restart my career after being a full-time parent for years? Ask HR

Q: I manage a staff who has performed well as of late. However, our office is returning to remote work for another stint with the onset of the omicron variant. I don’t want the lose the performance momentum we’ve gained recently. What can I do to combat the hit to employee morale and acknowledge great work? – Patricia

Taylor: You aren’t alone in your dilemma. Many organizations are being pushed to work from home in response to the recent surge of coronavirus infections. Remote work requires greater intentionality to engage workers. Absent physical presence, isolation can weaken both morale and performance. As a manager, it is important to recognize your workers’ efforts and keep them connected. In a remote environment, this requires some resourcefulness.

Whether it’s an informal progress update or a more public formal acknowledgment, both encourage workers who demonstrate exemplary work performance and embody the ideals of your organization.

Even in a remote work setting, there are several creative gestures to highlight praiseworthy efforts:

• Give an electronic gift card for a food delivery service.

• Reward your team with a couple of extra hours off on Friday.

• Share an electronic thank-you card with team members.

• Send an email to the entire company extolling the commendable work being done.

• Employ a spot bonus for a job well done.

You are on the right track in seeking out ways to reinforce your staff’s work. When your employees know their work is appreciated and valued, they deliver consistent performance. In any setting and more so in remote work environments, positive feedback is critical to organizational continuity. I hope your group continues to flourish no matter the setting.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Is it detrimental to my career to turn down a promotion at work?

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting