Joe and Wanda on Management

Joe Kerr and Wanda B. Goode, two characters from Nick McCormick’s book, “Lead Well and Prosper,” dispense their management wisdom

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Category: Compensation

Salary Increase Request

25 February, 2007 (20:03) | Compensation, Employee Retention | By: Administrator

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.


The Counter Offer

25 November, 2006 (19:05) | Compensation, Leadership, Management | By: Administrator

When the supply of talent tightens, it’s not uncommon for some employees to test the market. Sometimes they find another job and come back to management to break the news. Do you make a counter offer? Let’s check in with Joe and Wanda to get their thoughts?

Joe Kerr: Hey, if the person’s a dog she gets shown the door. If she’s a keeper, I do what I can to convince her to stay. If that includes a bump in pay, so be it. After all, people are our most important asset, right? We need to take care of the top performers.   

Wanda B. Goode: Counter offers can cause some problems. Countering implies that you’ve been underpaying the employee for a while. After all, only the threat of leaving brought about the salary action. The person may feel good at first that companies are fighting over her, but that can be short lived. Second, word of the dealings can get back to others, and that can open a whole new can of worms.

I try to avoid countering. It’s better to care for the person all along. If the person is unhappy, that should have been known and action(s) should have been taken to attempt to address. If legitimate business conditions prevent paying a person her worth, that should have already been communicated, and unless their has been a very sudden change of fortune, there should be no extra money lying around to pay out. Sure the person leaves, but she does so on good terms, and as a result, might return some day.