First-time Manager

bus van surfing board beach

First-time Manager: How to manage your team’s vacations

By | Email & Communication, Featured, First-time Manager, Managers

It is gratifying to be the nice manager that accepts employees’ vacation requests all the time until you end up with an empty office and a mounting pile of work that won’t do itself no matter how long you stare at it with pleading eyes. The key solution is not to despairingly try to complete all unfinished tasks by yourself, nor to deny your employees their legally merited annual leave, because it greatly contributes to their feeling refreshed to work again and to prevent long-term burnout. There has to be a system by which vacations are managed. This prepares for when people take unexpected days off (when falling sick or having accidents) and is used to handle peak times for vacations, like the summer, Ramadan and the holiday seasons.

Strategize vacations

Short vacations (1-2 days)

Taking a day or two off shouldn’t be that big of a deal or that complicated of a process for the employee; because it’s usually asked for urgent situations or to repose after great stress. So be flexible. Excuse people. Convene with your team and agree that to inform you about a short vacation, they should send a notification via email (see template below) because verbal conversations could be forgotten and so that you could track and validate everyone’s days off.

Subject: [Short vacation] Notice for X day vacation leave


This email is a formal notice for an X-day vacation that starts on [DATE]. I will be back at work on [DATE].
If you have any questions or considerations, we can set a quick meeting.

Yours sincerely,

Up to one week

The process gets a bit more complicated if it’s an extended vacation. If an employee wants to take up to 7 days off, he or she has to notify you at least a week in advance and get an approval, so that some formalities could be settled. These include:

  • Completing all unfinished tasks that are due the upcoming period be completed before leaving.
  • Handing over tasks and projects to someone else to cover up for the employee going on vacation.
  • Creating an out-of-office message that is automatically emailed to clients, partners or people that are frequently emailed.

See Also: Long Time No Sea? Prepare for your vacation with this checklist

Long vacations ( > 7 days)

bus van surfing board beachIf someone wants to use up a big chunk of their annual leave, it will take more than just a week in advance to manage their request and see how their queued work will be dealt with during their absence.

The ideal way to manage long vacations would be to plan them at the beginning of the year; for example: knowing that during June, Ahmed will take 2 weeks off for his honeymoon; or Nour will be on pilgrimage during September. The earlier the notification about such long vacations, the better; because it allows finding someone as a back-up and managing workload during that period using a thorough handover process.

If it’s not possible to know precisely at the beginning of the year when each employee would be off, then as a manager, set a quarterly meeting to ask and discuss with your employees the dates of their vacations. Be as cooperative as possible, but also make it clear that you can simply refuse their vacation request if it does not correspond with the work plan and workload. It would also be advisable to set a blackout period, during which no one could take a vacation if it is known beforehand that the company will be going through a busy phase.

Set guidelines

  • Announce a deadline for vacation requests

Have a “first come, first serve” rule, except in emergency cases, so that people learn to plan their vacation days in advance. By doing so, you will avoid the build-up of work pressure at certain dates, and you will be able to work out alternative delivery dates for tasks that are due.

  • Use applications (ex: Pingboard, Hubplanner) and calendars (ex: Google Calendar) to manage vacation dates

Exploit technology to your benefit to create less room for error, by having vacation dates clear and organized on an online chart. This makes it a quick reference for all employees to know if and when a certain person is on vacation without having to ask everyone in the office about them. It’ll also assist in relieving the stress of manual planning and organization of a team’s vacation dates, into an uncomplicated process.

Some of these applications provide free services like Pingboard, Google (Calendar, Sheets) and Slack; while other applications like Hubplanner and Go Clockwise are paid.

  • Allow working remotely

If work can be done somewhere outside the office, then grant your employees the leisure of working in an environment that is comfortable for them. This will give them the space of working freely and the encouragement to be more productive. Research has shown that most people do prefer working remotely, as it helps them master the work-life balance and cuts down on time wasted while commuting. If people feel less stressed, then the need to take a couple of days off to repose will decrease, alleviating the pressure of employees’ vacation days accumulating.

  • Try to get employees available for contact in case of emergencies

Yes, vacations are designed to get out of work and not be contacted, but urgent times call for desperate measures! Make sure that your employees would be available for remote work if a situation absolutely, ultimately requires that you contact them.

  • Conduct a rigorous handover session so that workflow could be regulated throughout the year

During the quarterly meeting, set time for a thorough session during which you could train the employees on how to run an efficient handover process regarding documents needed and information that should be stated. The session should also include clearly assigning a backup person for each employee that would cover up their work during their absence. This way, the hectic rush of who will do whose work is eliminated whenever someone takes a vacation.

Save the following handover template and share it with your team, so that they could use it.

money should you pay your interns?

Tough Call: Should you pay your Interns?

By | Career Advice, Featured, First-time Manager, Hiring, Internship, Managers

It’s still a controversial matter in some countries whether to pay interns you employ in your company or not, for example, it wasn’t until this month that the European Parlimant officially banned unpaid internships in a historic decision. But according to the Egyptian labor law, it falls upon the employers to choose whether they want to compensate the interns or not. So if it depends on you as an employer, here is what you should consider if you are paying or not paying your interns.

Being a current intern at WUZZUF, I am fortunate to be a part of a continually-evolving company that provides to its employees enough space to feel at home; yet at the same time creates a professional environment that urges them to learn and develop. WUZZUF also offers compensation for its interns so that they could feel more integrated as part of the company.

How does compensation add to your intern’s experience?

money should you pay your interns?

Most university students look for opportunities to experience real work, which is a good reason for them to try and find an internship. Between university fees and personal expenses, they usually cannot afford to spend time and effort interning somewhere without getting compensation in return. When companies offer a salary, it motivates interns to work devotedly and produce fine quality results since they felt more appreciated and integrated into the work environment.

A good internship experience can turn into a low-cost employer branding campaign for your company. Why not pay your intern when he/she acts as your ambassador?


I talked to Moaaz Soliman, our Outreach & Partnerships Specialist. He first joined WUZZUF as a social media intern, then he joined the partnerships team. “WUZZUF’s challenging environment allowed me to grow and explore my potentials and move to the partnerships team. Being an intern in a leading company gave me the experience you only grasp at a real workplace environment.”, Moaaz explains how this internship was crucial to his career.

On the topic of getting paid and appreciated during his internship, Moaaz shares: “When I see how my effort is appreciated, I get motivated to do more.”

When I see how my effort is appreciated, I get motivated to do more.Click To Tweet

Is it okay not to pay in some cases?

In very particular situations it can be acceptable not to pay the intern since the compensation could be in a non-monetary form.

Numerous corporates in Egypt organize annual summer internship programs. These programs are designed to hire one or more interns after training. Such programs usually offer an exceptional experience that applicants look forward to. Given the valuable experience, the program itself is an enough of a compensation to the interns. At the end of the internship, the participant would have acquired the desired understanding of their career interests. It is reasonable for employers not to pay the participant interns and avoid spending a big budget on pay. But nevertheless, I strongly urge employers out there to compensate their interns.

It also differs depending on the nature of the work. Critical work that requires long, fixed hours somewhat equates interns with regular employees; so naturally, it would be more righteous to pay them for the effort, as opposed to less demanding work.

So, Should you pay your interns?

Ideally, yes, given that it results in the most satisfactory outcome for the company and the interns, even if it’s a minimal pay, covering their transportation and lunch breaks. Realistically, in some cases, it might be acceptable, but we do not recommend it.

Don’t underestimate the power of financial compensation to the intern.Click To Tweet

It all falls upon your strategy as an employer, what kind of work you get from your interns and what you will provide in return. Don’t underestimate the power of financial compensation to the intern. Think twice before you take the decision!

Decision fatigue: The reason you’re making bad decisions at work

By | Career Advice, Featured, First-time Manager, Grow, Managers, Productivity, Skills Lab

Have you ever felt like making a very simple a decision during the workday (even deciding what to have for lunch) is next to impossible? You have? Alright. Next question: Have you ever wondered why all supermarkets have candy stands near the cash registers?

You’re probably thinking the answer to the second question has something to do with what you’re going to have for lunch, but it doesn’t.

The reason behind your occasional inability to make even the simplest of decisions is exactly the same reason why supermarkets place candy stands where they do: decision fatigue.

So what is decision fatigue?

It is the worsening quality of decisions made after long sessions/stretches of decision-making. #UnderstandDecisionFatigueClick To Tweet

It is the phenomenon of worsening quality of decisions made after long sessions/stretches of decision-making. In other words, the more the decisions you make and the longer they take you to make, the more likely your later ones will be bad/wrong. Just as the name suggests, you get fatigued and your mental energy is depleted, causing your decisions to worsen in quality.

How did we come to know decision fatigue?

Social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister and his colleagues discovered and confirmed this through many experiments. In one of them, they gathered two groups of people. They asked the first group to make a series of decisions about simple products like candles, T-shirts, pens, and so on. For example, the researchers asked the group whether they preferred to take the T-shirt or pen. They also asked them which color of pen or T-shirt they wanted. On the other hand, the other group was not asked to make any decisions; instead, they were only asked to give their opinions on the items.

Decision fatigue things choose experiment

Afterward, both groups were given a classic test of self-control: They were asked to keep a hand submerged in ice-cold water for as long as they could. And then the results were amazing. The group that had to make a lot of decisions before gave up a lot faster. In fact, they gave up in less than half the time the other group did: 28 seconds vs. an average of 67 seconds, respectively.

Keeping your hand in the cold water as long as you can is a conscious decision you have to make and requires not succumbing to the temptation of relief you’d feel when you pull your hand out. And making that decision after having made all the other ones needs mental energy you just wouldn’t have then.

So how does that decide the placement of the candy stands?

The idea is that while shopping you spread yourself too thin in going through the different shelves comparing brands, qualities, prices, and any other factors to be considered that by the time you get to the cash register you just can’t resist the temptation of a candy bar, after all, that decision-making, so you decide to get one, making a purchase almost guaranteed every time. Not bad for the supermarket owner, is it?

decision fatigue supermarket

How does it affect my life?

So what happens when you’re suffering from this phenomenon? Your brain just wants to end the situation that’s forcing you to make a choice. And that leads to one of two scenarios.

  • You pick anything

The fastest way to put an end to the situation is to just pick something. And your brain knows this. So you find yourself making the easiest decision or choosing the easiest option with no consideration for later repercussions. In this case, you run the risk of bad/unwise/reckless decisions.

  • You pick nothing

The complete opposite is also possible. The lack of decision-making ability could drive you into analysis paralysis. That’s what happens when you overanalyze a situation and the options you have to the point of incapacitating yourself.

You could also choose to not make a decision at that particular moment because your brain convinces you that this way you keep your options open and you can come back to decide later.

But we all know that luxury of delaying decisions is not one available all the time at work. You also can’t afford to be making the wrong decision at work all the time. So you see why decision fatigue is a serious problem, don’t you?

How to deal with it?

What makes matters worse is the huge number of decisions out there. We face decisions in all shapes, sizes, and forms at work. From deciding what to have for lunch to who deserves a promotion, the range of decisions at work can give anyone a run for their money.

It’s not just about work-related decisions either. Imagine any typical day. You have to choose what to wear, what to have for breakfast, whether to reply to that text you received now and many, many others. All these decisions and you haven’t even left home for work yet!

Every decision you make, big or small, takes a toll on your brain. #UnderstandDecisionFatigueClick To Tweet

No matter how small or inconsequential it might be, every decision you make from the moment you wake up takes a toll on your brain and takes away from your decision-making ability later in the day.

Understanding the decision fatigue phenomenon is the first key to solving it. Now check out our ultimate guide to better decision-making at work.

Have you heard of decision fatigue before? What surprised you the most about this phenomenon? Let us know in the comments below.

If you like this article, don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to the blog to get more of this content regularly.


featured image source:

Before you miss your deadline AGAIN, read this!

By | Featured, First-time Manager, Managers, Productivity, Skills Lab

Deadlines in the historical sense mean a line drawn around a prison beyond which prisoners risked getting shot. But unless you work for a really strict boss, deadlines mean something different now. However, they still have the same frightening effect. Missing deadlines is also a constant struggle for many.

But don’t worry. You’re going to understand the exact reasons why you’re missing deadlines.

But first here’s a good tip to keep in mind: You could be constantly losing your battle against deadlines due to a combination of the factors on this list. No single one of them is standalone. So take this into consideration when you’re narrowing down the source of the problem.

Why are you missing deadlines?

  • You procrastinate

Let’s be honest: everyone procrastinates. From a long update email, you have to send to your boss to a meeting you can’t get yourself to schedule, all tasks are prone to our procrastination.

Making the decision to start working on a task has a lot to do with impulse control. If you tend to usually act impulsively or hastily, then you’re probably missing deadlines often and have a harder time making decisions in general. Of course, you might also be suffering from decision fatigue that is causing your lack of impulse control.

So if you’re always struggling to control your impulses and you do everything when you feel like doing it not when you have to do it, then procrastination is likely the culprit here.

If you’re always struggling to control your impulses, then procrastination is the issue. #DeadlinesClick To Tweet
  • You are a victim of the planning fallacy

The planning fallacy is our tendency as humans to be generally optimistic about completing a task/project. This causes us to underestimate the time, effort, and/or resources required for said task/project.

In one of five studies exploring the reasons why we fall prey to the planning fallacy, think-aloud procedures revealed that we focus primarily on future scenarios/plans, instead of past experiences, when predicting task completion time. It was observed also that we attribute past failure to relatively external/transient factors. All of that is what leads us to underestimate the time we need.

It might sound like a complicated scientific concept, but it’s actually very common that everyone experiences it and not just at work. You probably have at some point underestimated how long it would take you to get dressed and reach that restaurant where your friends are waiting even though you were late the last time also. Similarly, that’s why you’ve just told your boss you’d be able to submit that important report tomorrow when, last month, it actually took you a week to complete it.

It is human nature to plan optimistically. But understanding how to deal with it will make all the difference between a report done thoroughly and completed on time and one done hastily only for the sake of meeting that second deadline/warning from your boss.

So if you’re always late, for personal and professional appointments alike, the planning fallacy is the most likely reason for you missing deadlines.

Be aware of the planning fallacy. #DeadlinesClick To Tweet
  • You don’t plan well

If you don’t have a comprehensive overview of all the tasks you have in a certain amount of time, you’re more likely to have challenging deadlines that will be very hard to meet during execution.

If you do have a to-do list of all your tasks but you are not aware of the priority of each, you’re also more likely to miss your deadlines. That’s because chances are you’ve started working on the wrong/small/unimportant task first.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin #DeadlinesClick To Tweet

The factors that contribute to bad planning are complex and intertwined. Procrastination can contribute to bad plans. The planning fallacy can do that too. Working under bad management (see the last point) definitely does. So if you’ve already figured out that one of the reasons on this list applies to you, then odds are planning is not your strong suit as well.

  • You’re a perfectionist

It might seem reasonable to completely focus on quality at the cost of quantity. But the truth is you’re a cog in the machine that is the whole organization you’re working for. You’re part of a bigger plan. And if the work is hampered by your perfectionism, the overall output will be affected. That’s not to say you should only focus on quantity, but reaching a balance is necessary.

Brené Brown: Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it's a shield. #DeadlinesClick To Tweet
  • You’re working under a bad management

This is a big one. Management at work can make the work or break it. Dealing with bad management has negative effects on all aspects of work, and deadlines are no exception.

If you’re working in an understaffed team or one that lacks qualified employees, your manager might be assigning you a huge workload you just can’t handle. On the other hand, you actually might not be busy enough driving you to procrastinate because you know there’s no rush since you don’t have anything else to work on.

Moreover, your manager might not be communicating the task requirements and objectives clearly. That’s why you end up confused about what you have to do. They might also be setting unrealistic or fake deadlines. That’s because they don’t have an overview of your tasks. It could also be because they’re not letting you see the big picture of why a certain deadline is urgent. Both of these are direct results of major communication and alignment issues in the workplace.

If you’ve eliminated all the previous reasons as the source of your problem, then know that it’s the management’s fault you’re not meeting your deadlines.

If you can't pinpoint another reason, then it's the management's fault. #DeadlinesClick To Tweet

Have you pinpointed which of these is the reason you keep missing your deadlines? Great! Now check out our ultimate guide to meeting deadlines.

What’s your experience like with deadlines? Let us know in the comments below.

If you like this article, don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to the blog to get more of this content regularly.

girl walking on a road decision arrow dress

How to make better decisions at work

By | Career Advice, Featured, First-time Manager, Grow, Managers

We all have to make a lot of decisions, both small and big, every day. This is why we’ve created this list of ways you can learn to make better decisions at work.

1- Create a routine

Creating a routine eliminates the need for constant decision-making. If you decide to always wear the black suit on Thursdays, always eat a tuna salad for lunch on Mondays, and always check your email inbox at 11 am every day, you keep your mental energy up for other important decisions.

An example of successful people creating routines to make better decisions is Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who always wears a grey T-shirt. The reason: as he put it, “I really want to clear my life so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community.”

Make better decisions blazers suits on a rack create routine

If the type of work you do cannot accommodate a set routine (you work from a different office every day, you have a lot of external meetings, etc.), you can plan your day the night before, so that you don’t run out of mental energy too early the next day.

If the work you do cannot accommodate a set routine, plan your day the night before. #MakeBetterDecisionsClick To Tweet

To start right away: Choose one decision you have to make frequently. Pick your work clothes for example. Decide on a rotational wardrobe system where every day of the week you wear something specific. For instance, assign Sundays the blue suit, commit to your system, and make your morning routine easier.

2- Automate whatever you can

better decisions automate

We live in a great era of technology, and we have to take advantage of it. So whatever you can automate, go ahead and do it. Connect your apps and inboxes. Automate your workflows. Forego relying on memory for anything you do regularly and create reminders. Do whatever you need to save the energy spent on making these small decisions for bigger things.

To start right away: Use ZapierIfThisThenThat, or find other apps that suit you.

3- Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize

Even after you eliminate small, unimportant decisions, you’re still going to find decisions that are more significant than others on your plate. What you have to do then is prioritize. Knowing where to focus will help you come out of the decision-making grind faster and with better results.

To start right away: Follow the 80-20 rule to correctly approach the list of decisions you have to make, and you should see an immediate and noticeable improvement.

4- Plan your day

80-20 rule priority time productivity

Which sounds better to you: setting a management meeting first thing in the morning or at the end of the workday when all you can think about is going home after the long, hectic day you’ve had?

Planning your day in a way that allows you to make the most important decisions at suitable times is the ideal approach to decision-making at work, so don’t schedule important meetings at the end of the day. Also, don’t schedule meetings back to back and don’t make too many consecutive decisions. We assure you the quality of the later ones will not be worth the taxing time you forced yourself to spend.

For better decision-making, don’t schedule important meetings at the end of the day. #MakeBetterDecisionClick To Tweet

However, the truth is this is not always possible and you don’t always have full control over your schedule, so you should combine this solution with one or more of the other solutions on this list for maximum effect.

To start right away: Pull out tomorrow’s schedule and start shuffling things around. Start by moving that important meeting to be first thing in the morning and take it from there.

5- Take breaks

loud colleague no work no productivity

Breaks are important. Detaching yourself from the problem at hand to do anything else will give you a clearer perspective when you come back to it. So get up from behind your desk and take a walk, get something to eat (see next point), or have a small chat with one of your colleagues. We promise you’ll be making better decisions after this in no time.

To start right away: Set an alarm so that you can remember to take a nice break in between tasks or during an especially long one.

6- Eat first, think later

better decisions eat first cookies coffee

One proven way to increase mental energy and hence make better decisions is to eat or have a snack before making a decision.

It might seem counterintuitive to stop working to get something to eat, but when you’re hungry and your blood glucose levels are low, the chances of making a bad or impulsive decision become higher.

So here’s the rule of thumb: Just as you shouldn’t go grocery shopping while hungry, you shouldn’t make any decisions while hungry. But be careful not to add to your burden and decide on a food rotational system too.

To start right away: Use one of the breaks you scheduled for good, healthy food and put it on your calendar now.

7- Limit your options

Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to options, the more is not the merrier. In fact, the more the options you have, the less likely you are to make a decision. That might not sound right to you, but research has proven that people with fewer options are more likely to go through with a purchase or a choice and to be more satisfied with it.

There’s a lesson there for all of us. For example, instead of choosing from 50 different candidates to interview, why not limit the pool to just the top 10? If they don’t work out, move on to the next 10. Again, the 80-20 rule comes into play in a big way here.

make better decisions woman choose paths maze limit options

You can also try to limit the situations that require decision-making to begin with, so, for example, if someone already on your team can handle the load, why put yourself through a long, daunting hiring process? Similarly, don’t go into a store to just browse unless you want to buy something specific. Make sure you have a specific, clear, and necessary goal in mind and then decide on what decisions you need to make to achieve that goal.

To start right away: Aim for no more than three options per situation.

8- Help others control decision fatigue

Just as you’re more likely to make better decisions if you have fewer options, your customers are as well. A person building a website knows that visitors are more likely to click through if they see fewer options in navigation menus. Someone in sales knows that trying to sell a huge number of products/services at the same time is almost always met with resounding hesitation.

Make better decisions limit options help other control fatigue menu few items

When you give others a small number of options and therefore help them make better decisions, it’s a win-win situation: You have fewer options to use and they’re more likely to go through with one of the options you choose for them.

To start right away: Aim for no more than three options for your customers as well.

Aim for no more than three options at a time. #MakeBetterDecisionsClick To Tweet

9- Make smart decisions about what decisions to make

Just because you’ve made a decision doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. If you make a decision that will require you to make more decisions in the future, then you’re only delaying the inevitable. As much as you can, make the decision that wraps up the matter instead of one that clears the way for more back-and-forth.

Done is better than perfect. #MakeBetterDecisionsClick To Tweet

For example, never end a discussion about an important matter with the decision to decide about it later. If you have all the info you need to make a decision right now, do it. For less important decisions, go with the simpler option. Embrace the “Done is better than perfect” motto to end procrastination once and for all.

To start right away: Take a look at your to-do list, see what your next decision is, and start eliminating all options where the above doesn’t apply.

10- Assign specific times

If absolutely necessary and unavoidable, then set a specific time for less important decisions and try hard to commit to the deadlines you set for yourself. This way, you still get the small stuff out of the way but leave enough room for more important decisions.

Assign specific times for important decisions as well. Without an end/deadline in sight, you risk wasting too much time on each decision you have to make.

To start right away: Check out Toggl or any of the other apps on this list.

11- Go for minimalism

Living a simple, minimalistic life will greatly help you make better decisions. So don’t own too much stuff, schedule fewer meetings, and only include important tasks on your to-do list. Only focus on what matters. This way you can eliminate trivial decisions altogether.

To start right away: Start with your desk. Take a look at everything on it, only keep things related to what you’re doing right now, and get rid of all the rest immediately.

In the end, all you need to remember is this: Your decision-making energy is not without end, so make sure you’re spending it on decisions that matter.

Which of the above solutions appeals to you most? Tell us in the comments below.

If you like this article, don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to the blog to get more of this content regularly.

Tough Call: Seniority vs. Meritocracy: Which should you use for promotion?

By | Expert Advice, Featured, First-time Manager, Managers

Many companies are confused when it comes to the promotion system they are going to follow to promote employees. Some of them prefer to follow the easy way of encouraging seniors just because they spent quite a lot of time in the company. Others prefer to promote employees based on performance.

What is the merit-based promotion system?

Seniority is a privileged status attained by an individual who has served in a position or worked for an organization for a long period of time. It usually means that the senior employee gets more money than a new employee performing the same role.

On the other hand, meritocracy is a system in which talented and hardworking people are chosen for promotions based on achievements, not because of their seniority or because they fit a specific gender or ethnic background.

Originally, the term meritocracy was coined by Michael Young in his book The Rise of the Meritocracy. He used the term to show how the UK was ruled by a system that chose intelligence and merit above everything else, including past personal achievements. However, since Young’s book, the concept of meritocracy has taken on different dimensions. It now refers to organizations in which the best people and ideas move ahead.

Seniority versus meritocracy

Promotions are decided on the basis of either seniority, merit, or both. Seniority represents many benefits, including a deep understanding of company culture, vision, and goals. Moreover, senior employees have experience on their side, which is a critical element especially in the selection of high leadership positions. It is often assumed that the more senior you are, the more suitable you are to lead a team. which isn’t always true.

That comes along with its disadvantages. Seniority prevents brilliant employees from getting the motivation to improve their performance if they’re eligible for higher positions. This will lead to labor turnover. In the end, the overall production of the organization will be affected.

That’s why if promotions are based purely on seniority, employees may not be as motivated to perform exceptionally, so it is essential to consider a merit-based promotion system to build an environment that will benefit the business in the end.

If promotions are based purely on seniority, employees may not be as motivated to perform exceptionally. Click To Tweet

Why you should adopt meritocracy

  • Merit-based promotion supports the reward system

The brain has a reward system (1) that consists of a group of neural structures responsible for incentive salience, like motivation, desire, and craving for a reward. When exposed to one, the brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that affects emotions, movements, and, more importantly, the sensations of pleasure and pain. When we get a dose of dopamine, we feel happier and more motivated.

A study (2) published in 2013 found that there is a direct and positive relationship between reward and recognition, job satisfaction, and employee motivation.

If this reward system is fair, employees will feel that their compensation is guaranteed. All they need is to work harder. Having employees motivated can be a significant factor in organizational success. When they are motivated to work at higher levels of productivity, the organization as a whole becomes more efficient and effective at achieving its goals.

This is unlike an unmotivated workforce, which can negatively disrupt an organization and distract from the work. And the reason is that managers underestimate or don’t have the full understanding of the power of the reward system and its influence on employee behavior. So, following meritocracy as a clear and fair promotion system will have a great effect on employees’ motivation.

  • It answers the question “Why should I work harder?”

Results are measured. With meritocracy, the better the results you get, the more likely you are to be promoted. It has nothing to do with the number of years you spend at a company. So employees will analyze the importance of their efforts to boost their careers and stand out from the crowd. Contrarily, they may think: “Why should I work harder when I can spend five years in the company and get my promotion?”

Prominent American entrepreneur and blogger Eric Ries said, “Meritocracy is a good thing. Whenever possible, people should be judged based on their work and results, not superficial qualities.” -Eric Ries

Whenever possible, people should be judged based on their work and results, not superficial qualities.Click To Tweet
  • It leads to better results

Companies care about results. If people are chosen to be moved up based on their qualities, that will lead to better quality of work. Better quality means better results for the company in the form of profit and for the employee because they will feel appreciated.

American hiring specialist and talent consultant Russ Minary had a thought on that: “Meritocracy treats the newcomer just the same as the old-timer in the corner office with the company car and all the nice perks. Let the best person win, based on performance. The best idea, the best manager, the best customer service, the best sales results rise to the top.”

Minary added that meritocracy is the way to keep the best talent and keep them motivated enough to remain the best. Even if this dynamic ends up hurting the seniors, it makes room for better performers to take their place, and that’s what you should be most concerned with.

  • It’s cost-effective

High achievers are hardworking and ambitious. They seek to be valued and grow their professional spheres. (3) Considering meritocracy in your promotion system will guarantee that they receive the acknowledgment they deserve for their efforts. Contrarily, the company could lose them which will affect productivity.

High performers can be four times more productive than average performers (4). Not only will they lose good talent but these companies will try to replace them by hiring other people who are most probably not interested in working at a company that doesn’t appreciate them.

Moreover, meritocracy provides a fair and understandable system for making decisions when dealing with unproductive and ineffective people in an organization. Keep those people in check and promote those who deserve it. That’s fair because at the end of the day keeping the best people is cheaper than finding new ones.

  • It affects company culture positively

If a company treats all employees the same, equality will become a part of its culture. That will attract star players. If the company follows pure seniority as a promoting system, it will create a culture of mediocrity and complacency, which would affect the company’s values and the type of employees it attracts.


In the end, there is no right or wrong. Some calibers have to be promoted based on their length of service. Because their job role requires who have a deep understanding of their businesses. Mostly these businesses don’t require constant innovation. So, seniors get promoted because innovation is not a necessity.

While a business that depends on innovation should consider meritocracy as a promotion system. They have to move brilliant minds ahead to make sure not to lose their edge.

The most important thing is to keep the balance and to do what suits your business. And to do the right mix between the two promotion systems, depending on calibers at your company.