Occasionally one of your team members will come up to you and ask you for a salary increase. What approach do you use to address this situation? Let’s check in with Joe and Wanda to get their thoughts.
Joe Kerr: First thing I do is stall. I ask the person to set up a meeting with my admin. Then I tell my admin not to set up a meeting for at least 2 more weeks. If the meeting does get scheduled, I make sure I miss it due to a last minute conflict. I then ask the person to reschedule. Hopefully it blows over. Just in case I’m dealing with a persistent one, I try to dig up something negative on the person. I don’t typically take any notes, but I have a great memory for that sort of thing. Maybe the person didn’t finish a project on time, or came up short in some other way. I find it’s good to have things like that in the back pocket. I like to pop them when people are telling me how wonderful they are. It brings them right back down to earth.
Wanda B. Goode: I try to be proactive. I let people know that they can talk to me any time about compensation, but they are typically reluctant to take me up on it. So, I like to have salary reviews with team members, especially when times are tough. This sets expectations and avoids surprises. In any event, when someone wants to talk about an increase, I quickly set up a time to meet with them. It’s a very important topic to most people. Delays are not appreciated. In the meeting I explain the factors that affect pay in my company and where the person stacks up against those factors. I review the person’s compensation history and give him/her an idea of what to expect in the near and distant future with the understanding that things could certainly change. I find that although team members may not always like what they hear, they appreciate the open sharing of the salary decision process and how they are impacted by it.