This article throws light upon the four main types of personnel management decisions. The types are: 1. Promotions 2. Transfers 3. Demotions 4. Separations.

Type # 1. Promotions:

An important employment decision is promotion. On most occasions human resources are not brought in from the external labour market to fill a specific position, but are developed, nurtured and promoted from within the organisation. Promotion refers to a movement by a person into a position of higher pay and greater responsibilities.

A policy of promotion from within the managerial levels and seniority on the operative (non- managerial) ones is likely to restrict the manager’s interaction with the labour market to entry-level positions only. That makes it very easy for the manager to fill positions from outside. But the problem of filling from inside is not simple either.

Most organisations have well-defined sets of personnel policies relating to the appraisal and rationing of personnel. Some of these are quite mechanical — indeed, perfunctory—on the operative (non-mana­gerial) level. They may consist of simple check-lists or standard-lists, which the manager or superiors fills out op each employee on a periodic basis (usually once or twice a year).


Since operative personnel occasionally move into managerial ranks and the opportunities for an operative employee are limited, the ratings at that level are more useful for pay hikes than for promotion.

On the contrary, with managerial positions, the evaluation process is more important for promotion and grooming purposes.

Various assessment procedures are used:

(1) The most cele­brated one is Management By Objectives, which is a continuing evaluation process based on task accomplishment, not popularly or favouritism. Other instruments used for achieving the same purposes are: (2) an annual self-evaluation by the employee, (3) supervisory evaluation on an annual basis, and (4) a combination of both.


Some organisations follow the practice of maintaining special centres to which employees are sent, put through various managerial exercises and assess their capacity for further advancement in the organisation. On various occasions new employees are programmed through a number of increasingly difficult challenges, for assessment and evaluation of their progress and achievement.

Promotions reward competence and ambition but the correlation is not perfect. There are employees who are competent and ambitious but do not get promotions for years together. However, it is widely believed that promotions act as incentives to perform above the average in one’s present job and to expand one’s abilities, aptitudes and knowledge through additional training and development.

Promotions are undoubtedly rewarding for performance and they should be based as much as possible on performance. But they are often influenced by other factors — external and internal. The country’s labour laws also affect the way in which promotions can be made. Often promotion of the best qualified and most eligible person will be held up by seniority rules and the trade union agreement.

Type # 2. Transfers:

A second employment decision is a transfer, which represents a lateral move from one position to another that has almost similar pay and responsibility levels. Where there are small differences between jobs, transfers have very little consequence. Transfers are usually made to fill temporary vacancies.


On certain new positions are created as a reward to allow a person to intern with (i.e., go into the interior of) or understudy (study a part of) another, higher job (in order to take over in an emergency or in due course). These “assistant to” positions help the transfer to study the higher job up close and under the direct tutelage of the person who occupies it.

Such actions seem to be appropriate when management is preparing to replace a person who is about to move up to a new position or when he is going to leave the company. Another major purpose is served by transfers — staffing a new operation, department or division with top-ranking, experienced and competent leaders.

Type # 3. Demotions:

A third personnel decision is demotion which is the opposite of promotion. A demotion is a downward movement of a person along the organisational ladder—a movement from one position to another which has less pay or responsibility attached to it.

In most cases demotions are not used for punishment. Rather, most organisations prefer to suspend the employee or impose a financial penalty, through deduction from pay or forfeiture of pay altogether.


Organisations refuse to use punishment as an option for the simple reason that demotion staffs a position with an embarrassed and often angry worker who is not likely to be productive or any better behaved than he (she) was in the former position.

The implication is that a person who sufficient time to get retrained or qualified for a higher position. So an individual should feel shame or embarrassed by such a move. Some people tide over the difficult transitional period smoothly, while others start searching out alternative employment immediately, with or without the knowledge or consent of their employers.

Type # 4. Separations:

Separations are the last category of personnel management decision. Separation is another name of termination. If an employee’s performance in the past has not been satisfactory, management can and do terminate (involuntarily separate) the employee from the company. Voluntary separations occur when employees resign or retire.

On some occasions a company finds it necessary to separate employees temporarily. Such an action is called a lay-off and is dictated by the level of business. In a period of recession, some casual workers are laid-off.


Likewise, extra workers are employed if demand for the company’s product increases. Most modern organisations have developed lay-off procedures combining criteria of performance and seniority to determine the order of the lay-off.