Employees are mistaken in believing that ‘who you know’ is more important than ‘what you know’ in order to achieve promotion, according to Manpower Group subsidiary Right Management. In a survey of more than 500 employees, the company found that office politics were perceived to be the key to success – but this indicates that employees are failing to adopt positive and patient strategies to demonstrate their value to the companies they are part of.
Workers were asked, ‘In your opinion, what does it take to get ahead in your organisation?’
The percentages of their responses break down like this:
Job performance 39%
Tenure in current position 4%
Who you know 44%
Puzzled, as it’s never actually made clear 13%
Right Management senior vice president Monika Morrow feels that workplace cynicism must be running deep, if only one in three employees think that merit opens up opportunities or influences advancement.
‘It’s unfortunate that so many workers think politics drives promotion,’ she said. ‘And it’s certainly wrong too, since organisations are doing more to identify promising talent and shape its development.’
The finding that 13% claim to have no clear criteria for advancement should be of major concern to top management, Morrow added. ‘If we add together the “politics people” and the “puzzled group”, we get 60% who aren’t plugged in to what ought to be open and fair development options. No wonder employers so often find their people so dissatisfied with – or disengaged from – their work.’
Morrow offered advice to employees who may feel out of the development loop:
Identify your strengths
Seek out your manager for constructive career discussions. Carefully assess your strengths; your strengths are where skills and interests intersect.
Tie strengths to business needs
Clarify how your strengths tie to the priorities of your organisation. Where are opportunities for adding value or closing gaps in contribution?
Continue to grow and learn
Look for growth opportunities, such as volunteering for a special project or suggesting a new idea to your manager. Apply these to help your manager address priorities and drive organisational success.