Have you ever considered body piercings or bad breath to be deal-breakers when considering an employee for a promotion? Whether you recognize it or not, there are certain behaviors, appearances, and other social implications that prevent employees from being considered for a promotion. According to a recent survey by Career Builder, here are the top reasons employers may avoid giving a promotion, even if the employee’s performance is off the charts.

In a national survey of 2,175 full-time hiring and human resource managers of various industries and company sizes, employers were asked about specific attitudes and behaviors that prevent employees from being promoted. The percentage of employers who agreed with the hindering factor is included.

Appearance problems that keep employees from being considered for a promotion:

  • Provocative attire: 44%
  • Wrinkled clothes or shabby appearance: 43%
  • Piercings outside of traditional ear piercings: 32%
  • Attire that is too casual for the workplace: 27%
  • Visible tattoos: 27%
  • An unprofessional or ostentatious haircut: 25%
  • Unprofessional or ostentatious facial hair: 24%
  • Bad breath: 23%
  • Heavy perfume or cologne: 21%
  • Too much makeup: 15%

Behavioral problems that keep employees from being considered for a promotion:

  • Having a negative or pessimistic attitude: 62%
  • Regularly showing up to work late: 62%
  • Using vulgar language: 51%
  • Regularly leaving work early: 49%
  • Taking too many sick days: 49%
  • Gossiping: 44%
  • Spending office time on personal social media accounts: 39%
  • Neglecting to clean up after himself/herself: 36%
  • Always initiating non-work-related conversations with co-workers: 27%
  • Taking personal calls at work: 24%
  • Taking smoke breaks: 19%

If you recognize any of these reasons as factors for not promoting one of your star employees, perhaps it’s time to provide some guidance. All successful organizations want to be represented professionally, and a truly determined employee will thank you for being honest. For more information, please contact our HR team.

Brad Fagergren, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Author Brad Fagergren, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Brad has been a certified Senior Human Resources Professional (SPHR) since 2010. He services both local and multi-state client companies and is our in-house FMLA expert. Outside of work, you might spot Brad mentoring, chaperoning, watching, or participating in sports.

More posts by Brad Fagergren, SPHR, SHRM-SCP