Acting Appointment: A Haphazard Tool


Acting appointment used to be a tool to provide employees with potential to rise to the next position the opportunity to perform in that position.

How it worked goes like this: when a vacancy arises, a staff would be placed on an acting position with an acting allowance to compensate for the bigger responsibilities, an acting period (test period) of 6 months, and would be endowed with the authority for the position. This tool had limited success in use.

Promotion Principle

There principle used in promotion is you can reward someone for performing well in the current position but promote someone only when he or she has the potential or qualities for assuming that position. It is the story why good salesmen turn into mediocre sales manager.

The Disgruntled Employee

Unfortunately the tool of “acting appointment” works only when the candidate is successfully promoted. Sometimes, management may decide to do away with the position either permanently or put it in cold storage for future review. Sometimes, a replacement made when management is unhappy with the current incumbent.

All these events leave a trail of disgruntled employees, and not just merely disappointed employees. Often they will target innocent victims so that the victims fail in their jobs, as acts of retaliation against management.  These victims could be trainees in their care; colleagues who replaced them in their acting appointments or even new hires.

The Shortfall of the Tool

It is not a viable option to terminate services of staff who failed the acting appointment. On one hand, it would be difficult to find candidates willing to take up the position. On the other hand, it would be subjected to abuse.