It has been over 10 years since I was part of a large organization that had a promotion system. Early on, I believe promotions and raises were tied to a combination of years of service, performance and opinion of your supervisor. Performance evaluations were replaced by (S.M.A.R.T) Performance agreements as H.R. began making changes to equity-based performance award systems along with job descriptions and titles matching one's education and/or experience. It was move from a unique title system to one that aligned with the job titling convention more commonly used by the rest of the country. I am sure this was to eliminate HR's challenges of equating titles when hiring individuals with experience.
I may the order reversed, but I believe it was a numbering system when I started (Engr. 1,2, 3, etc.), that evolved to a combination & numbering system (Engr II, Senior Engr., Project, Sr. Project Engr.). Each level had a salary range based on discipline. For example, Engr. 1 for civil may have a range from $22k to $25k, while that for the Engr 1 in electrical may be $43k to $46k.
One received performance merit increases based on performance evaluations. Once one's salary exceeded the maximum in that level's range, the title shifted to match the pay range of that title. There are often a standard number of years preferred by some for Engineers to be at a certain level before being promoted. Given the connection of title and pay, there is the dynamic of time vs. level of performance. Some may have used the "time standard" as a means of justifying a mediocre performance evaluation.
That is my experience outside of management. I do not think I can share any of that process from my time in management out of respect for the company and possibly a confidentiality agreement I signed upon leaving (I need to find and read). Of course, that could lead to a different discussion about merit increases, raises, and how percentages are determined. I used to argue in leadership training that merit increases were for performing above and beyond one's required duties. People are hired to do a good job. No one is paid to perform poorly. The reward for doing a good job is keeping your job. The reward for exceling at one's job was a merit increase or bonus. I supported cost-of-living increases, but merit increases for everyone reduced the reward for those that excel. Low percentage merit increases were moral killers (at least for those requiring financial motivation).
James Williams P.E., M.ASCE
POA&M Structural Engineering, PLC
Sent: 01-24-2022 11:16 PM
From: Christopher Seigel
Subject: Promotions in Different Places
Since we have already had a good discussion about Performance Improvement Plans on this forum, I was wondering if anyone wanted to discuss how promotions work (or previously worked) in their employment history. I know things can be different between small and large companies (and certainly if you're self employed!), and I'm hoping to learn something new about the process in other industries or institutions.
I'll go first:
I work for a fairly small company (about 50 people) and so I would say that the organizational structure of the company is pretty flat. There are position titles, but I have personally found them to be somewhat arbitrary and relative to what is needed at the time, rather than tied to a rigid set of criteria. As such, raises have never seemed tied to titles. I have found instead that one's compensation is more directly tied to the value that they are perceived to bring to the company (and which can be self-noted during yearly performance reviews).
How do promotions work for you?
Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE