||What Would You Do?|
Last Issue's Dilemma:
How can I give a raise in this stinkin' economy?
The depressing economy affects us all including my company. My staff continues to insist on the size of raise they expect from us. We can't afford the raises. Should I cave in and give the raises, should I let them leave, or fire one to set an example?
— The bottom line ties my hands
Summary of Advice Received
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Raising hey about raisesby Meryl K. Evans, Editor, Professional Services Journal
Many companies in today's economy are in this delicate position: Don't give them raises, and you could lose the good employees first who can readily find other jobs. Give them raises, and the company could find itself writing Chapter 11.
All readers — except one — vote not to fire or let employees go. So what to do? Try one or more of the following:
Provide a financial education to employees
All you need is education — OK, education isn't as nice an answer as love, but it might be what the CEO ordered. One reader explains it well.
"Salaries you give to your employees must always balance in terms of your revenue and profits. You cannot get an overdraft from the bank to pay salary increases. You need to show your company's balance sheet to your employees. They will benefit from an education on the company's financial position so they can appreciate it."
Another reader says that a manager can't cave in and just give the raise if the business is at stake. "I would explain that you just can't afford the raise for him or yourself. If he can't accept the situation, use your standard, established evaluation criteria to determine to keep the person or not," the reader says.
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Obviously, this means the manager doing the educating needs to weave words carefully. After all, the manager doesn't want to set off a company-wide panic, making employees think they're on a sinking ship.
Find other ways to motivate employees
Employees can leave your company whenever they want, but who says you can't motivate them to stay? Who says motivation needs to be in dollars and cents? Several readers point out that money isn't the only motivator. Try creative solutions to recognize and reward employees without hurting the balance sheet.
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Have you asked your employees how they want you to recognize them? Maybe the answers will delight you without touching your pocketbook. A reader writes, "Call a group meeting and ask for their suggestions about what to do in this situation. After the meeting, they will probably be more understanding."
A reader takes the hard-core approach. He writes, "I would fire the person, publicly and send a message to those who think they know how to run a business better than me!"
Whether you have to decide to let someone go or not, hang in there. You might be surprised how helpful a little education can be along with creative motivators.
About Meryl K. Evans
Meryl K. Evans is the content maven behind meryl.net, and author of Brilliant Outlook Pocketbook and co-author of Adapting to Web Standards: CSS and Ajax for Big Sites.