Recently I was having a meal out, and on the next table, there was a couple discussing their business problem. The woman’s body language clearly showed she was uptight. Because I go in and troubleshoot on teams, I couldn’t help noticing all the non-verbal signs and odd bits of conversation could be heard around an employee wanting a pay rise. Now some people would say I was being nosy, but when I go into workplaces I have to pick up what the culture is like, what the problems are and I do this partly by listening and observing and using emotional intelligence skills. Anyway, as I was passing the couple to leave, I passed my business card to the couple saying to look at my website for advice. Some people would say that’s cheeky! This is how I view it……..
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
So, what would I have said to that couple! Here are just a few of the points you would need to consider in this scenario:
1. First, listen to the employee and their reasons why they deserve that pay rise They may have done some big things you weren’t even aware of and we all deserve to be listened to. Explore the times they’ve had a pay rise and their results in relation. Review what others are getting for the same work type. If what they are getting is currently comparable then explain this. Discuss performance and share research carried out but do keep emotion out of it. Tact is vital in this conversation. And you want the person to leave feeling still motivated. So, explore some ideas around how they could develop and ask what their career plan is and look to help with it. Discuss ways they could contribute to the business to get that pay rise they want. Make sure you let the person leave knowing how they can progress to a pay rise and set regular review dates.
2. Next look at the environment you have in your business. Sometimes people ask for a pay rise because they don’t feel valued and therefore you need to show you are recognising the person’s contribution. This can range from a simple thank you to awards or bonuses. But whatever you do treat all employees equally and ensure all contributions are recognised.
3. If you can’t give the pay rise because the business cannot afford it, could you reward in other ways? Also, consider whether you could offer more annual leave instead or flexible working or increased paternity leave. Whatever you give extra still has a monetary value.
4. Set up an Employee Appreciation Day as another way of recognising everyone’s contributions. It could range from a picnic in the summer months to a buffet to fun activities across the day at work or the activities could be on a non-working day. Just make sure everyone gets the chance to join in.
5. Think about using on-the-spot rewards or micro bonuses such as love shop tokens when someone has done a really good job and has made a difference for the business in a good way. Or has helped other employees to achieve success. The times I’ve seen this spark engagement from the employee, an increase in motivation and even the most cynical people have responded to this.
6. I’ve seen businesses treat their employees to cakes and fruit every Friday for their work across the week and again, it created a real buzz and lift. Whatever you do consider people’s diverse needs.
7. My brother’s company hold activities such as the boss cooks or a baking competition and even building “soap boxes” to race with the employees. All contribute to making people feel part of the team. Try it and see if it lifts spirits.
8. Encourage the right culture by rewarding the right behaviour you want. Something as simple as ice-creams on a hot day to carrying out some training outside (if possible) as an acknowledgement of people’s commitment to work sends the right message.
9. I think it’s especially important for the business/Manager to acknowledge birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions through at least a handwritten card thanking the person for all their hard work.
10. Bring fun into the workplace. What activities could you set up that show people you care? These could be hiding smiley faces and people winning small prizes, it could be playing a murder mystery out with the bosses and Managers doing the parts and the employee who solves the murder wins a prize. Use your imagination but remember to be inclusive to everyone.
Remember whatever you bring in needs to be genuine, really meant and usually visible. It’s also worth remembering that it needs to fit in with the culture you are trying to build in your business and that it is diverse to cater for all the needs of the teams.
Good luck and let me know how you get on.