You’ve been promoted but may decline the offer. Can you? Should you?

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In business, a promotion is considered the recognition of a job well done, the acknowledgment that you’re a valuable part of an organization and ready to take on new responsibilities. 

Most people generally welcome this career opportunity with enthusiasm and excitement. 

But for those who think the circumstances and timing of the job promotion offer just aren’t the right fit for them — there are certain steps to take and considerations to bear in mind.

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Job experts shared insights about respectfully turning down an offer for a variety of reasons.

Here’s a deeper dive. 

What are the factors to consider regarding your promotion offer?

Important issues to consider range from the position itself to matters like pay, job responsibilities and the position’s flexibility. 

After the promotion is offered, ask for a job description if it hasn’t already been offered to you, in order to familiarize yourself with what’s being offered aside from a new job title.

That’s the recommendation of Regan Gross, HR knowledge adviser with the Society for Human Resource Management (shrm.org) in Alexandria, Virginia.

After reading the new job overview carefully, think about whether the position meets your career goals or not.

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“When offered a promotion, employees should consider if it’s a right fit and if the position will advance their career goals and objectives,” said Amy Glaser, senior vice president at Adecco, a leading provider of workforce solutions, who is based in Pointe Vedra Beach, Florida. 

Workers should consider “how the promotion may affect their work/life balance.”

“Employees should also factor in the flexibility of the new role, and how the promotion may affect their work/life balance.”

Glaser recommended examining the offer carefully. 

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“A common first step is reviewing the new role’s compensation and benefits package, and seeing if it’s in line with market standards and expectations,” Glaser said. 

If you feel the compensation is satisfactory, then it’s a good idea to recognize what’s expected of you in this elevated role at your company or business.

business meeting

“Candidates want to ensure a promotion will lead them to a role that provides a sense of satisfaction,” Glaser also said. 

“It’s not uncommon for employees to analyze the risks associated with taking a promotion, including if it comes with greater accountability and managing a heavier workload.” 

In what circumstances is it OK to decline a promotion? 

There are several cases in which it is appropriate to turn down a promotion.

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“Reasons range from a required relocation,” said Glaser, to a lack of alignment with “an employee’s lifestyle or family obligations, including childcare.”

“It’s wise to explain the reasons this particular promotion opportunity is not a good fit.”

Or, she said, perhaps “the promotion doesn’t help a person achieve long-term career goals — or there’s even the chance the employee is not interested altogether.”

How do you respectfully turn down a promotion? 

To maintain work relationships and avoid burning bridges, employees should have some in-person conversations with their managers or team leaders when declining a promotion rather than relaying the news through a written explanation, said Glaser.  

team discusses in an office

Also, employees should thank their employer for considering them for this opportunity and the recognition of their work — and even explain the “why” behind their decision, Glaser said.

“After a live conversation with a manager, employees should follow up in writing to their boss to reiterate their gratitude and commitment to career and employer,” she said.

Will turning a promotion down affect the dynamic with your boss — and how do you handle this?

There’s a chance that declining a promotion may impact your relationship with your boss, experts said. 

“This depends on the emotional intelligence of an employee’s manager and how well the conversation on declining the promotion offer is navigated and even the actions that follow,” Glaser noted.

Furthermore, Gross with the Society for Human Resource Management agreed it’s wise to explain the reasons this particular promotion opportunity is not a good fit — and to ask for suggestions in terms of being more prepared at a later date, if appropriate. 

Gross also advised expressing your gratitude and willingness to revisit future opportunities. 

“Be sure to keep the door to opportunities open with your boss and express interest in being considered for future promotion opportunities,” Gross said.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle.

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