Is there a "good" way to demote an employee?

Another week, another Cabinet reshuffle. But while demotions aren’t pleasant, they don’t have to be a disaster for managers either.

by Peter Crush
Getty Images - WPA Pool / Pool
Getty Images - WPA Pool / Pool

You want them ‘out’, but you also want them ‘in’ still (and with continued loyalty to boot). For those that suffer the ignominy of being demoted, it’s a confusing set of events. Marching orders have been sent, but commitment is simultaneously expected. Just ask Dominic Raab - shunted as he was from foreign secretary to justice secretary in the latest cabinet reshuffle. 

But it’s not just in the Cabinet where demotions occur. In business they are far more common than people might initially think. Research by OfficeTeam in 2018 found 46% of HR directors had witnessed a demotion at their company, while it also found 14% of staff will be expected to accept a lower-level role at some point in their career. 

Invariably, the process doesn’t go well. Data suggests that more than half (52%) of people who are demoted eventually quit. So can managers ever do a demotion ‘well’? 

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