The guy is a hiring mistake !! Everyone including the person who hired him agree and you don’t hear a squeak from him for the five years that he is in the organization – then the email announcing his promotion arrives. You sit there wondering what happened. The guy just reaped the benefit of being at the bottom of the barrel and knowing it and is enjoying the fruit of being patient. You find this variety when you run out of talent in the organization and start “scraping the bottom”.
Look for the “meets expectation” team member who just does enough to keep his/her head above water, or the manager who shows up everyday, refuses to take on any new role because his mom is unwell, his wife is expecting, he has a new baby at home, someone died etcetera and his reasons sound great. There is no harm in letting this variety hang on in the organization but make it clear they can’t grow. Your internal promotion mechanism should clearly bypass these folks, by making it compulsory to have worked in two different roles at each level before getting promoted. Also watch out for the “forever mover” – never stays long enough in a role to have any performance attributable to him/her. The expression “A rolling stone gathers no moss” was written with these guys in mind “A rolling employee gathers no value”.
The BPO industry made it fashionable and necessary to have a promotion every year – if you are hot and happening. Now we are paying the collective price for it, with untrained managers and a bunch of “leaders/managers/God’s gift to mankind” who cannot work anywhere except a BPO 🙁
Returning to the scraps at the bottom of the barrel, another trait they display is, their ability to always be just near the periphery of your vision. If their direct manager is not smart or strong enough, they will slip by and get a promotion.
I am all for giving internal promotions through open opportunities, but leadership needs to notice when the organization hits the talent bottom and just hire appropriate talent from the outside. The gene pool needs a refresh and that’s why marrying your cousins spells death for the human race – similarly the organizational gene pool needs a refresh every now and then. Promote from within but also bring managerial and leadership talent from the outside rather than scraping the bottom – you just get scrap, without value !