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HR Advice
#1
Hi all

I wasn't going to post this, but I know you guys have a wealth of knowledge and always give good advice.



Here is the situation.   I started in September at a large company in a management position.    The company was very interested in my past senior management experience, which is why I got the job.  It was strange and I even told my husband that I felt like I was interviewing for my boss' position before I was hired.  (My boss was the VP)

Well sure enough, a few weeks into the position, they fired my former boss and promoted me into the position.  Months later, the position is now official and I've been given the quickest promotion of my life.  I have every reason to believe that they had planned this since before I was hired.

The money is good and I really like the job.   I have a wonderful and supportive boss and am already able to make major change in my territory, due partly to the extreme mismanagement of the past, and partly I would like to think because I'm a good fit for the role.   It's a wonderful job and I'm very happy.

So what's the issue?  Well, the guy that got fired was a VP.   No matter how much my new boss negotiated with HR, they couldn't give me more than a director title.   It's HR policy based on how many positions you can jump up for promotions.   I get it.  It's a large company and HR has to be strict.

I told my boss that this was a deal-breaker for me in spite of how much I love what I'm doing.  So he came up with the solution:  an internal and an external title.    No one on my team, and frankly no one even in the company other than HR needs to know I'm a director in the organizational hierarchy.   I can use the VP title for everything and the only real difference between me and a VP is just a few extra meetings I don't need to attend and a few extra vacation days I wouldn't use anyway.

So why am I concerned?   Well,  first of all I'm annoyed and feel a bit slighted.   Since literally no one at my company other than HR knows about it, I should let it go, but it still bugs me.

Secondly, and most importantly, I'm worried about the future.    I hope to stay at the company for years and then my HR title and my external title will eventually match.   But if I don't, I will use the VP title on my resume.  It's the level of responsibility I have and my company understands this, which is why they are ok with me using the title.     Is title something that can be verified on an employment background check?   Is there any way that this could affect me in the future, considering that I do have other VP-level experience on my resume?


I would really love your thoughts.  Thanks so much
Regis University, ITESO, Global MBA with a focus in Emerging Markets 4.0 GPA, Dual-university degree (Spanish/English) 
COSC BS, Business Admin

My BS Credits:
Spanish 80 | Humanities 67 | A & I Lit 72 | Sub Abuse 452 | Bus Ethics 445 | Tech Writ 62 | Math 53 | HTYH 454 | Am. Govt 65 | Env & Humanity 64 | Marketing 65 | Micro 61| Mgmt 63| Org Behavior 65| MIS 446|Computing 432 | BL II 61 | M&B 50 | Finance 411 | Supervision 437| Intro Bus. 439| Law Enforcement 63|  SL: Accounting I B | Accounting II C+| Macro A | ECE: Labor Relations A | Capstone: A| FEMA PDS Cert 
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#2
I believe HR can verify things like your title, position, length of employment etc. That aside, what your company - your boss in particular - are doing is highly unethical. If you're doing the work, you should get ALL that comes with it ... compensation, title, etc. You're probably also going to miss out on other career development opportunities that are afforded only to their VP's and above (like much more generous retirement benefits and the like.) If you put on your resume that you were a VP and your current employer only verifies your position as being a director, you will be immediately branded a liar and more trouble than your worth as a new hire. There will be others competing for that same position who verify as being/having been a VP. I highly recommend looking for another company. I'm sure you won't have to look far or long. Your current employer is just shady.
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#3
I would wait it out a while and let your boss know that if you aren't given the VP title by a certain date (say a year into the promotion, or 6 months, or whatever you think is acceptable), then you will be looking elsewhere. Your boss may be able to come up with a plan to satisfy you and HR both, but it just may take some time.

And yes, HR can and will verify employment with your REAL job title, so I wouldn't put VP on anything in the future - as a matter of fact, I wouldn't put VP on anything now while you don't actually have the title. What if one day, someone from another company was talking to someone who just happened to work in your company's HR department who didn't know about this "deal" you have with your boss, and they mentioned "that new VP burbuja0512" and the HR person said "she's not a VP, she's a director!" I just can't see this being a good plan. It's lying to everyone outside of your company (and some inside I guess) and it is just a bad idea.
TESU BSBA in HR, 2018
WVNCC BOG AAS,
 2017
GGU Cert in Management, 2000

EXAMS: TECEP Tech Writg, Engl Comp 2, LA Math, Public Rel, Computers  DSST Computers, Pers Fin  CLEP Mgmt, Mktg
COURSES: TESU Capstone  Study.com Pers Fin, Microecon, Stats  Ed4Credit Acct 2  PF Fin Mgmt  ALEKS Int Alg, Coll Alg  Sophia Proj Mgmt The Institutes - Ins Ethics  Kaplan PLA
B&M COURSESPalomar CollMission Coll, Golden Gate Univ, San Jose State Univ
[-] The following 3 users Like dfrecore's post:
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#4
(02-01-2019, 10:07 AM)dfrecore Wrote: I would wait it out a while and let your boss know that if you aren't given the VP title by a certain date (say a year into the promotion, or 6 months, or whatever you think is acceptable), then you will be looking elsewhere.  Your boss may be able to come up with a plan to satisfy you and HR both, but it just may take some time.

And yes, HR can and will verify employment with your REAL job title, so I wouldn't put VP on anything in the future - as a matter of fact, I wouldn't put VP on anything now while you don't actually have the title.  What if one day, someone from another company was talking to someone who just happened to work in your company's HR department who didn't know about this "deal" you have with your boss, and they mentioned "that new VP burbuja0512" and the HR person said "she's not a VP, she's a director!"  I just can't see this being a good plan.  It's lying to everyone outside of your company (and some inside I guess) and it is just a bad idea.

The problem is that I'm in international business focused in a part of the world where women are already at a slight disadvantage when it comes to authority.   So, if I am to assume this position, it's as a VP or not at all.  My boss knows this which is why he's pushed everyone to allow me to make an exception.   Even HR understands that the details of my promotion are not to be shared as it could cause problems. 

I like the idea of waiting it out and then giving deadlines.   I think that after a year or two of amazing sales results, I'll be able to press harder.  But I won't wait that long to ask.   I'm good at negotiating on my own behalf and it's just a shame that the HR policies are so rigid.  

Overall I don't want to give the impression that I'm unhappy.  The company really is very good and the job is also.
Regis University, ITESO, Global MBA with a focus in Emerging Markets 4.0 GPA, Dual-university degree (Spanish/English) 
COSC BS, Business Admin

My BS Credits:
Spanish 80 | Humanities 67 | A & I Lit 72 | Sub Abuse 452 | Bus Ethics 445 | Tech Writ 62 | Math 53 | HTYH 454 | Am. Govt 65 | Env & Humanity 64 | Marketing 65 | Micro 61| Mgmt 63| Org Behavior 65| MIS 446|Computing 432 | BL II 61 | M&B 50 | Finance 411 | Supervision 437| Intro Bus. 439| Law Enforcement 63|  SL: Accounting I B | Accounting II C+| Macro A | ECE: Labor Relations A | Capstone: A| FEMA PDS Cert 
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#5
(02-01-2019, 01:06 PM)burbuja0512 Wrote:
(02-01-2019, 10:07 AM)dfrecore Wrote: I would wait it out a while and let your boss know that if you aren't given the VP title by a certain date (say a year into the promotion, or 6 months, or whatever you think is acceptable), then you will be looking elsewhere.  Your boss may be able to come up with a plan to satisfy you and HR both, but it just may take some time.

And yes, HR can and will verify employment with your REAL job title, so I wouldn't put VP on anything in the future - as a matter of fact, I wouldn't put VP on anything now while you don't actually have the title.  What if one day, someone from another company was talking to someone who just happened to work in your company's HR department who didn't know about this "deal" you have with your boss, and they mentioned "that new VP burbuja0512" and the HR person said "she's not a VP, she's a director!"  I just can't see this being a good plan.  It's lying to everyone outside of your company (and some inside I guess) and it is just a bad idea.

The problem is that I'm in international business focused in a part of the world where women are already at a slight disadvantage when it comes to authority.   So, if I am to assume this position, it's as a VP or not at all.  My boss knows this which is why he's pushed everyone to allow me to make an exception.   Even HR understands that the details of my promotion are not to be shared as it could cause problems. 

I like the idea of waiting it out and then giving deadlines.   I think that after a year or two of amazing sales results, I'll be able to press harder.  But I won't wait that long to ask.   I'm good at negotiating on my own behalf and it's just a shame that the HR policies are so rigid.  

Overall I don't want to give the impression that I'm unhappy.  The company really is very good and the job is also.

You said that they have a policy in place about how high you can go in a single promotion - but do they have a policy in place about how soon you can get another promotion?  Your boss and HR should be working on getting another promotion as quickly as possible.  I wouldn't wait more than a year, for sure.  I'd probably push for 3-6 months.

I'd also like to point out that I've worked in HR in large companies, and there is no telling how many people have access to your info. There will be plenty of people who see your name and "Director" next to it, or even "director of sales" or whatever, and know that it's you because there is no VP there. Org charts throughout the company, in addition to HR, Benefits, Compensation, Payroll, Stock Plan Admin, Legal/Compliance, etc. I guarantee you, not every single person in there will know of the deal and keep their mouth shut, even if it's accidental. There is no way to make sure that every single person who has some sort of access for legitimate reasons, will know of the internal deal and not say anything ever. Guaranteed. So the sooner this happens, the better.
TESU BSBA in HR, 2018
WVNCC BOG AAS,
 2017
GGU Cert in Management, 2000

EXAMS: TECEP Tech Writg, Engl Comp 2, LA Math, Public Rel, Computers  DSST Computers, Pers Fin  CLEP Mgmt, Mktg
COURSES: TESU Capstone  Study.com Pers Fin, Microecon, Stats  Ed4Credit Acct 2  PF Fin Mgmt  ALEKS Int Alg, Coll Alg  Sophia Proj Mgmt The Institutes - Ins Ethics  Kaplan PLA
B&M COURSESPalomar CollMission Coll, Golden Gate Univ, San Jose State Univ
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#6
(02-01-2019, 01:16 PM)dfrecore Wrote:
(02-01-2019, 01:06 PM)burbuja0512 Wrote:
(02-01-2019, 10:07 AM)dfrecore Wrote: I would wait it out a while and let your boss know that if you aren't given the VP title by a certain date (say a year into the promotion, or 6 months, or whatever you think is acceptable), then you will be looking elsewhere.  Your boss may be able to come up with a plan to satisfy you and HR both, but it just may take some time.

And yes, HR can and will verify employment with your REAL job title, so I wouldn't put VP on anything in the future - as a matter of fact, I wouldn't put VP on anything now while you don't actually have the title.  What if one day, someone from another company was talking to someone who just happened to work in your company's HR department who didn't know about this "deal" you have with your boss, and they mentioned "that new VP burbuja0512" and the HR person said "she's not a VP, she's a director!"  I just can't see this being a good plan.  It's lying to everyone outside of your company (and some inside I guess) and it is just a bad idea.

The problem is that I'm in international business focused in a part of the world where women are already at a slight disadvantage when it comes to authority.   So, if I am to assume this position, it's as a VP or not at all.  My boss knows this which is why he's pushed everyone to allow me to make an exception.   Even HR understands that the details of my promotion are not to be shared as it could cause problems. 

I like the idea of waiting it out and then giving deadlines.   I think that after a year or two of amazing sales results, I'll be able to press harder.  But I won't wait that long to ask.   I'm good at negotiating on my own behalf and it's just a shame that the HR policies are so rigid.  

Overall I don't want to give the impression that I'm unhappy.  The company really is very good and the job is also.

You said that they have a policy in place about how high you can go in a single promotion - but do they have a policy in place about how soon you can get another promotion?  Your boss and HR should be working on getting another promotion as quickly as possible.  I wouldn't wait more than a year, for sure.  I'd probably push for 3-6 months.

I'd also like to point out that I've worked in HR in large companies, and there is no telling how many people have access to your info.  There will be plenty of people who see your name and "Director" next to it, or even "director of sales" or whatever, and know that it's you because there is no VP there.  Org charts throughout the company, in addition to HR, Benefits, Compensation, Payroll, Stock Plan Admin, Legal/Compliance, etc.  I guarantee you, not every single person in there will know of the deal and keep their mouth shut, even if it's accidental.  There is no way to make sure that every single person who has some sort of access for legitimate reasons, will know of the internal deal and not say anything ever.  Guaranteed. So the sooner this happens, the better.

Great advice.  I believe the policy is 6 months.   I will push on it.   Thank you.
Regis University, ITESO, Global MBA with a focus in Emerging Markets 4.0 GPA, Dual-university degree (Spanish/English) 
COSC BS, Business Admin

My BS Credits:
Spanish 80 | Humanities 67 | A & I Lit 72 | Sub Abuse 452 | Bus Ethics 445 | Tech Writ 62 | Math 53 | HTYH 454 | Am. Govt 65 | Env & Humanity 64 | Marketing 65 | Micro 61| Mgmt 63| Org Behavior 65| MIS 446|Computing 432 | BL II 61 | M&B 50 | Finance 411 | Supervision 437| Intro Bus. 439| Law Enforcement 63|  SL: Accounting I B | Accounting II C+| Macro A | ECE: Labor Relations A | Capstone: A| FEMA PDS Cert 
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#7
Here is where I see the problem "the guy that got fired was a VP", but the replacement - she is only a Director.  Is this 'policy' they're talking about in the handbook (documented for all employees to know) or is this something that is just known or SOP?  Even if it is a written policy most large corporations have exception policies in place - such as when the job requires a certain level of 'respect' (in title) due to acceptance internationally.  It seems that being a woman puts you at a disadvantage internationally (unfortunately, this is still common in many cultures) by not being a VP; then by the same token it puts your company at a disadvantage by not recognizing you as such.  Whatever happens get it in writing.
Working on... MS-ITM @ WGU (started June 2019)
Thomas Edison State University (TESU) 
- BSBA General Management, December 2018
- ASNSM in Computer Science, December 2018
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#8
(02-01-2019, 03:18 PM)allvia Wrote: Here is where I see the problem "the guy that got fired was a VP", but the replacement - she is only a Director.  Is this 'policy' they're talking about in the handbook (documented for all employees to know) or is this something that is just known or SOP?  Even if it is a written policy most large corporations have exception policies in place - such as when the job requires a certain level of 'respect' (in title) due to acceptance internationally.  It seems that being a woman puts you at a disadvantage internationally (unfortunately, this is still common in many cultures) by not being a VP; then by the same token it puts your company at a disadvantage by not recognizing you as such.  Whatever happens get it in writing.

Wow - that quickly went off the rails.  I'm going to guess that this is all a bunch of hooey, and that the policy is written (large company usually means lots of crap in writing), and I'm going to guess that they knew she was a woman when they hired her, so there's no discrimination going on (or they would have hired a man).  Instead, they brought her in while the VP was there, and so had to justify to him what was going on, and had to bring her in at a certain level - and now are being hamstrung by a policy that they're going to have to work around.  Geez, how about if we just assume bureaucratic policies and ineptitude first, and discrimination as a last resort!
TESU BSBA in HR, 2018
WVNCC BOG AAS,
 2017
GGU Cert in Management, 2000

EXAMS: TECEP Tech Writg, Engl Comp 2, LA Math, Public Rel, Computers  DSST Computers, Pers Fin  CLEP Mgmt, Mktg
COURSES: TESU Capstone  Study.com Pers Fin, Microecon, Stats  Ed4Credit Acct 2  PF Fin Mgmt  ALEKS Int Alg, Coll Alg  Sophia Proj Mgmt The Institutes - Ins Ethics  Kaplan PLA
B&M COURSESPalomar CollMission Coll, Golden Gate Univ, San Jose State Univ
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#9
(02-01-2019, 03:18 PM)allvia Wrote: Here is where I see the problem "the guy that got fired was a VP", but the replacement - she is only a Director.  Is this 'policy' they're talking about in the handbook (documented for all employees to know) or is this something that is just known or SOP?  Even if it is a written policy most large corporations have exception policies in place - such as when the job requires a certain level of 'respect' (in title) due to acceptance internationally.  It seems that being a woman puts you at a disadvantage internationally (unfortunately, this is still common in many cultures) by not being a VP; then by the same token it puts your company at a disadvantage by not recognizing you as such.  Whatever happens get it in writing.

I was wondering the same thing. Where is this policy documented? Can someone point it out to you in the company policy documentation? Are you sure there isn't a gender thing going on here?

In my experience titles in a company are fluid. If the big boss says make this person a VP, then HR cannot say no. If you're supposed to be a VP, then your boss is probably an SVP or C-level. Their boss is probably the CEO/President. If an SVP doesn't have the power to force your title promotion (which seems unlikely to me) then surely their boss can if approached about it. If this could be a potential issue for the company, then it seems like it would be in their best interests to make it happen.

One thing that I have done in the past when I wanted to give someone a title promotion but when there was red tape on a job grade increase (for companies that use them) is to just change the title without adjusting the job grade. This means there is no compensation or benefits increase, but it allows the employee to have a legit title change. I've found that most of the time when there is pushback on a promotion, its due to compensation or benefits. For example, I had an employee with an internal job grade/title of "Director I" who had the title of "Senior Director" which would normally be a job grade 2 levels higher. That same company also had promotion limits where someone couldn't increase more than 1 job grade per 6 months so it took a year or so before they could be promoted into the job grade associated with the title.

It sounds like this may be what your boss is attempting if they are talking an external title change. So your internal title (or job grade, held with HR) would define your compensation and benefits but your external title (what people refer to your title within the company and by your customers) is what everyone sees. As long as HR knows about the internal/external title, then you should be fine with using it anywhere or putting it on your CV. In a reference, the company should be able to validate external titles.

(02-01-2019, 05:33 PM)dfrecore Wrote: Wow - that quickly went off the rails.  I'm going to guess that this is all a bunch of hooey, and that the policy is written (large company usually means lots of crap in writing), and I'm going to guess that they knew she was a woman when they hired her, so there's no discrimination going on (or they would have hired a man).  Instead, they brought her in while the VP was there, and so had to justify to him what was going on, and had to bring her in at a certain level - and now are being hamstrung by a policy that they're going to have to work around.  Geez, how about if we just assume bureaucratic policies and ineptitude first, and discrimination as a last resort!

I think it is a legitimate question. Gender bias is a very real thing in a lot of corporations, particularly international ones. The thing is that people who are committing it don't even always realize that they are doing so. I've been an executive at the corporate level for nearly 20 years and I know this has been the case in most of the companies I've worked for.

That said, there may very well be job grades and/or policies that define a minimum time between promotions which could support the reasons she cannot be moved to VP directly. Though in that case, it also suggests that if they hired her with the plan to promote her into her bosses role, they purposefully hired her more than 1 job grade below that of her former boss, which is why she cannot be directly promoted to VP. That may be just where the negotiations landed, or it was done to disguise the plan from her former boss, or it could be intentional or unintentional gender bias. It's hard to tell.
In Progress: MBA (IT Management), Western Governors University (31/35cu | Sep 2019)
Up Next: Perhaps an MSCS or a DBA/DM/Ph.D.

Complete:
BSBA in Computer Information Systems, 2019, Thomas Edison State University
ASNSM in Computer Science, 2019, Thomas Edison State University

B&M CC: 8.68cr, TESU: 3cr, CLEP/DSST: 15cr, Study.com: 57cr, Straighterline: 19cr, ALEKS: 9cr, TEEX: 6cr, The Institutes: 2cr, Sophia: 2cr
(121.68 credits total. 95 credits earned in 10 months, with 45 of those earned in ~3 months)
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#10
I've worked at large 20,000+employee international companies, all the way down to companies with 20 employees. They ALL have policies & procedures, and they are not always well thought out. It may take some time and a process to untangle things. A VP in some companies may not have as much direct access to the president in the company than you think, depending on the size of the company, and the way they view the org chart (being more flat or much more hierarchical).

And, yes, I know there is still discrimination and racism and all of the other ism's in the world. It MAY be that. It may NOT be that. Either way, it NEVER behooves someone to go straight to playing the discrimination card without knowing for certain that's what's going on, and even then, you need to be careful. You are guaranteed to not go any further in your company with that kind of attitude, and probably get fired/demoted/whatever, blackballed in the industry, etc. That's just not a good way to play the game.

There is no sense ratcheting things up to a 12 when a 2 might do. If there's a 6 month policy on promotions, and your boss isn't actively working on getting you into that VP role by then, then I would probably kick it up to a 4. But I'm going to save the 12 for later in the process, and give things time to work themselves through.
TESU BSBA in HR, 2018
WVNCC BOG AAS,
 2017
GGU Cert in Management, 2000

EXAMS: TECEP Tech Writg, Engl Comp 2, LA Math, Public Rel, Computers  DSST Computers, Pers Fin  CLEP Mgmt, Mktg
COURSES: TESU Capstone  Study.com Pers Fin, Microecon, Stats  Ed4Credit Acct 2  PF Fin Mgmt  ALEKS Int Alg, Coll Alg  Sophia Proj Mgmt The Institutes - Ins Ethics  Kaplan PLA
B&M COURSESPalomar CollMission Coll, Golden Gate Univ, San Jose State Univ
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