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Not getting promoted at work? Here are the real reasons why

Research suggests that your conduct may be limiting your progress

Do you turn up to work late, or indulge in a bit of office gossip? This might just be why you were passed over for that promotion you’d been eyeing up.

CareerBuilder recently surveyed more than 2,000 human resources managers in multiple industries across the United States and put together the results to create a list of reasons that deter employers from promoting staff.

The research shows that behavioural issues are clearly at the heart of the hesitation for many employers.

Behavioural factors

The following are the main reasons relating to employee conduct in the workplace that dissuaded HR managers from promoting staff.

Employers were less likely to promote an employee:

  • with a negative or unpleasant attitude (62%)
  • who was regularly late for work (62%)
  • who was found to use vulgar language frequently (51%)
  • who left early on multiple occasions (49%)
  • who took lots of sick days (49%)
  • who indulged in office gossip (44%)
  • who spent time during office hours on social media websites (39%)
  • who did not maintain a level of cleanliness in the office, left mess for others to tidy up (36%)
  • who frequently spoke about non-work related issues with co-workers (27%)
  • who took or made personal phone calls during working hours (24%)
  • who took smoking breaks more regularly than allowed (19%).

What’s on the surface does matter

In addition to employee conduct, there were several superficial reasons that arose as part of the survey. Employers were also less likely to promote an employee:

  • who wore inappropriate or revealing clothing to work (44%)
  • who turned up to work looking unkempt, or with wrinkled clothes (43%)
  • with visible piercings other than traditional ear piercings (32%)
  • who wore what was considered overly casual clothes frequently (27%)
  • with visible tattoos (27%)
  • with what is considered an unprofessional hair style (25%)
  • with persistent bad breath (24%)
  • who wore too much perfume or aftershave (21%)
  • who wore too much make-up (15%).

The take-away from the research suggests that while your behavioural conduct in the workplace goes a long way to affecting your chances of promotion, you should also be mindful of your physicality in the workplace and how it might affect or influence others, even if it seems subjective or trivial.

While it may not seem important in relation to the work that you turn out, smaller things can have a huge impact on your career progression.

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