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What is a Promotion?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 16, 2024
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A promotion is an increase in rank that may also be accompanied by a raise in pay, benefits, and responsibility. Most people view such rises positively, as they indicate that the individual is successful, valuable, and useful. In many workplaces, people actively work towards this goal and its accompanied benefits. The term is also sometimes used to refer to a general change in status such as a graduation, which is why some parents may find themselves attending a “fifth grade promotion” instead of a fifth grade graduation.

Typically, someone is rewarded with a promotion when he or she performs exemplary work or shows aptitude for a position with more responsibility. This is usually a cause for celebration, as it indicates that the employee has a potential for development and long employment within the company. The new position may include supervision responsibilities, as the employee becomes responsible for administrative assistants and other staff. These responsibilities should not be taken lightly, as most employees look to their supervisors for guidance and examples of appropriate workplace behavior.

The new job may also require more work, which goes along with general increases in responsibility. This work may be more complex or more interesting, however, so most employees are happy to take it on. In recognition of the increased workload and status of the employee, most employers offer a pay raise as well, and employees may become eligible for additional benefits. In a ranked system like the military or a fire department, it may be referred to as an increase in rank or grade, and the employee's pay will be adjusted according to a rigid scale.

Notification of a promotion and congratulations are usually offered by a supervisor or high ranking member of the company. A worker who has been selected for an increase in rank should be aware that this is an good time to engage in negotiations, such as a request for a change in hours, because the employer is indicating that the person are valued as an employee. When a person is promoted, he may have to sign paperwork indicating the new position and noting any changes in pay.

Not all people view an increase in rank as a cause for celebrations. Some people, for example, prefer to remain in lower positions so that they can stay in the field in professions like policing. Others enjoy jobs with light responsibilities, despite the lower pay. In some cases, it is possible to reject such a promotion, although an employer may be puzzled. In others, this is not an option.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a SmartCapitalMind researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon163803 — On Mar 29, 2011

I've had supervisory placed on me two years ago, and every few months I talk to my manager about extra pay to go with my responsibilities and he makes every excuse under the sun, considering our company suffered no downturn during the GFC. In fact, extra people have been hired and promoted within the company.

By anon102895 — On Aug 10, 2010

this is one of the tricks of management: they don't want to make any increase in your salary but want to load you up with responsibility.

By anon55501 — On Dec 07, 2009

Recently I got promoted without any salary hike, but added responsibility.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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