• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

Find the right way to talk pay

Get PDF file

by on
in Salary Negotiating,Workplace Communication

When you discuss employees’ pay, they hang on your every word. Sure, you’re uncomfortable. But despite the awkwardness, it’s a chance to build trust and transparency—and retain top performers (even if you cannot pay them what they want).

To conduct difficult conversations about pay in a collegial, effective manner:

• Raise the subject frequently. If you avoid talking about employee compensation, you may come across as aloof and uncaring. Staffers will view you as a foe rather than a champion of their interests.

It’s better to bring up pay informally throughout the year. Project how much of a bonus people can earn if they hit certain goals. Check in periodically to offer feedback, and explain how their performance affects their prospects for a pay increase.

• Rehearse before conducting performance reviews. Practice what you’re going to say before an annual performance appraisal. Review your documented record of an employee’s performance and jot your main points as they relate to any changes in pay.

If you anticipate that the staffer will not react favorably, rehearse your reasons in support of your decision. Strive to show how your action is fair and consistent, even if it’s not what the person wants.

• Share the big picture. Don’t assume employees know the context within which you’re making pay decisions. If they’re disappointed by what they perceive as a paltry raise, they may lack information about your organization’s financials.

— Adapted from “How to Discuss Pay With Your Employees,” Amy Gallo, hbr.org.

Leave a Comment