How to Handle a Request for a Raise
Talking about money can be really uncomfortable. During our new manager training sessions, new supervisors tell us that one of the most challenging situations managers face is how to handle a request for a raise from one of their direct reports.
As a first time leader, it is easy to feel unprepared and to be unsure about the best way to respond. But make no mistake, how you handle a request for a raise from a member of your team matters.
Why Your Response Matters
Regardless of how you frame a conversation about a pay increase, there is a lot of potential for miscues.
If poorly managed, an employee request for a raise can undermine your credibility and seriously disengage your people. If, however, you respond in a fair, consistent, transparent, timely, understanding, and supportive way, you can strengthen your relationship with your employee – regardless of whether you grant or deny the request for an increase in pay.
The Right Way to Handle a Request for a Raise
Here are some tips on how to respond in an appropriate and empathetic way. Your job as manager – when all is said and done – is to successfully lead your team. Will the raise bring you closer to those goals or put team goals and team cohesion in jeopardy?
Do not make any promises until you clearly understand the parameters you must work within and the implications of granting or denying a pay raise. For example, you may have more flexibility in other areas like professional development, paid time off, conferences, transportation costs, or other perks.
Learn what is possible and then be ready to advocate for them if the employee is key to the team’s success.
If the news is bad, also describe the process and be clear about why the request was not granted. It might help, too, to explain how they might increase their value and then work together on a plan to be able to earn a raise in the future.
The Bottom Line
The way you respond to a request for more money is critical to maintaining the good will of your employees. Be sure you show that the request was taken seriously even if the news you need to deliver is disappointing. Transparency and compassion are important. You want your team to feel valued for their contributions.
You will know you are headed in the right direction when your employees:
To learn more about how to better communicate with your employees as a manager, download 7 Tips on How Managers Can Increase Employee Engagement through Communication
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