My company, like many others, works with salary grids based on levels. There are 5 levels, from 1 to 5 with overlapping salary brackets.
I joined the company at level 3. Ever since I joined, I received quite decent salary increases and even bonuses up to the point that I was told I am now at the top of - or close to - my level's maximum salary.
During my last one-on-one I raised the issue that while I understood salary increases could not continue at that pace in the future, knowing beforehand that I would not get any raise at all because of this was a motivation-killer. The director agreed and promised - oral promise... I know... - that I would move to level 4 within the year.
A couple of months later the director quit and was replaced. He however assured me that his promise would be kept by the new director. The new director confirmed that to me too.
It's now been almost a year since the original promise was made and sadly nothing has changed. All my coworkers, my boss, my boss's boss and the director are unanimous: I deserve to move to level 4.
From what I know, there are very few level 4 in the company (compared to the other levels) and even fewer level 5. The levels 4 & 5 comes with many more benefits than any other level (+25% holidays, bonuses, doubled pension, ...). The only level 4 people I know are either:
External hires that already had quite a decent salary.
In both cases those people are way older than I am. I already know that HR emitted doubts on my case because, and I quote: "if we give him the level 4 now, what do we give him in 10 years ?"
I find this situation very frustrating: everybody that I know and who knows my real worth agree on the topic. There is nobody for me to convince on a technical level. No negotiation to do: all the parties already agree.
But I have no updates whatsoever on the internal HR process and it seems they have a say in this too.
My director told me he would keep me up-to-date, and so far he has but even him seems to know very little (I trust him and I don't believe he would lie or hide information from me).
Is it unprofessional to contact HR and ask them about what exactly happens ? I didn't make the request to them in the first place - my director did - so it kind-of feels out of place to do that now. At the same time, not knowing for so long puts me in a uncertain and stressful situation. I don't want my director to take offense for me contacting HR directly either. I really do trust him when he says he made the request.
( 6 months ago )
This is something your director should be managing. It's perfectly fine for him not to know what is happening in the short term, but he needs to be finding out and keeping you informed. If not, then he's not doing his job - therefore you need to remind him of this.
Start badgering him in your one-to-ones (or whatever contact you have with him). Ask "What's the status of my promotion to level 4?". If he says, "I don't know", ask "When will you know?". A good manager will give you an answer along the lines of "I'll ask internally and let you know within two weeks" (or some other defined time frame). If you haven't heard in two weeks, you ask again, reminding him of his promise to you.
The other possibility is that he's not actually driving this process as he said he would. That's a trickier situation to manage, but don't go around your boss until they've shown that they're not going to do what you need them to do.