Have you ever wondered why your boss still bothers to keep you around? He doesn't seem to like you that much, never has anything positive or uplifting to say to you and it seems like he will only promote you when you reach your 100th birthday.
Well, now you know that last bit, at least, wasn't just your imagination. According to a recent report, Singapore employers take much longer to promote their employees than other employers in the region-almost four years, as opposed to about three years elsewhere in the region. What's more, it is quite common to promote workers without a pay rise.
Why does this happen?
Mismatch between employer and employees' expectations
You might think you're saving the world at work every day, but if your boss thinks you spend all your time surfing Facebook on the office computer, you're not going to get promoted.
In the report, the employers surveyed cited on-the-job skills as the most important thing they looked for when promoting employees, followed by leadership traits and performance or attitude.
Employees, on the other hand, felt that their circle of influence was the most important factor, which could be why you see so many people desperately sucking up to the boss.
The truth is, your boss may not know what he wants. While bosses say skills are most important, someone who has no sphere of influence but great skills might inadvertently get overlooked.
How to deal: The most important thing is to communicate closely with your boss, find out what he values at work, and then make sure he knows you're working to fulfil his needs. Instead of doing your work blindly, focus on trying to figure out what your boss really wants and what makes him tick.
Lack of in-house training
Despite the importance of on-the-job skills, many employees complain that training opportunities at their workplaces are limited.
Many SMEs are short-handed and don't have any formal training programmes in place. Bosses are often too busy and turnover rates too high to really allow them to monitor each employee's performance at work and plan for their career progression.
Employees are often guilty of not taking the initiative to ask to be sent for training or to discuss which skills they would like to develop so they may be considered for a promotion later on.
How to deal: You need to communicate with your boss if you feel you aren't being adequately groomed to progress in your career. Your boss himself might have no idea how you are doing. If the company sees you as an investment, they will have little reason to say no to sending you for training or giving you new responsibilities if you ask.
The company is mired in inefficiency
You could be the world's best employee. But if the company culture is so toxic and so inefficient that nobody can get anything done, you can forget about being recognised for your awesomeness.
You know the type of workplace I'm talking about - the kind where employees sit around till late at night doing nothing in particular because they're scared to leave after the boss, where everyone is an expert at dodging arrows, covering their a** and sending long email chains back and forth in which the whole world is CCed, but nobody actually wants to take responsibility for their work.
In such workplaces, it's no wonder people aren't getting promoted, since work is being done so badly.
How to deal: If this sounds like your workplace, the best thing you can do is to move on. Sadly, some workplaces are simply too dysfunctional to excel in, and you might be better off taking your skills to an employer who can better make use of them.
The article first appeared on MoneySmart.
MoneySmart.sg is Singapore’s leading personal finance portal, and aims to help people maximise their money with powerful tools and engaging content.