May 16, 2007

Feeling Valued: The Dreaded Salary Raise Discussion

I get a number of employees who e-mail me seeking advice on the best ways to request a salary increase. I always find this request interesting, because written between the lines is really a bigger issue that all employers should know.

The hidden message? If an employee makes it a point to ask for a salary increase, what they are really saying to you is that they don't feel valued.

As I mentioned in last week's blog, employees are looking for a purpose in their careers. But they also want to feel valued in their positions. Problem is, if they get the perception that they are not valued by the company, the only thing they can really grasp onto is asking for more compensation. Disappointment in their compensation is only part of the problem--the rest is a lack of feedback on their performance and praise for the good they have done for the company as it grows.

As business owners, we have to find the best way to retain top talent while keeping expenses in check to run a profitable business. As in any growing business, there are conflicts between the need for employers to keep expenses at budget and the need to reward and invest in key talent to aide in the growth of the company.

How have you achieved a balance between cost minimization and investments in people to increase profits? What are your success stories on how you have handled an employee who is asking for a raise, but the business is not in a growth position to do so? How have you bridged the gap between the need of growing your business and the compensation needs of your employees?

I've got a few suggestions that I have seen work, which will be the topic of next week's blog, but first I'd love to get your input.

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