How to Drain the Drama and Emotion from Salary Reviews

Get immediate free access this 11-minute video now and find out what every manager on your team should know before they walk into their next employee performance review. You’ll learn:

  • Why the size of the raise isn’t what causes drama in salary reviews
  • Why the real problem is usually the manager, not the employee
  • A process you can use to communicate more effectively when it comes to money.

Why are we giving you all of this for free? Because it’s the best way we know to introduce you to a new approach to leadership and management training.

Here’s how it works: Request your video on salary reviews now and we’ll email you a user name and password that gives you instant access to the Leadership & Management Rapid Learning Center. There you’ll find your free training video on salary reviews and a collection of other training resources for managers, supervisors and HR professionals. You’ll have unlimited trial access to this powerful library of e-learning modules, reports and fast-read articles.

Discussion about salary is one of the most emotionally charged topics in the workplace. Why, because people often equate their self worth and value with the size of their raise. When they don’t get what they think they deserve, they walk away thinking, “Why doesn’t the company love me anymore?”

Annual salary reviews: Two scenarios

Scenario 1: Angela is an employee who took an entry-level job with your company 3 years ago. She showed great potential, so you raised her salary 12% after one year and 10% after the second. This year, when you tell her she’ll get just a 5% raise, she’s devastated. Written on her face are the words, “The company doesn’t love me anymore.”

Scenario 2: Peter, a senior engineer, is still with your company 19 years after signing on as a junior engineer right out of college. In his review you’re thinking that Peter’s one of the highest-paid employees on staff, that company performance was flat this year, and that Peter performed well but made no splashes. So you tell him he’ll get a 2% raise and he explodes. “This is the fourth year in a row you guys have stiffed me on my raise.” Peter is deeply hurt.

Learn more about how these salary reviews could have been handled without the hard feelings. Access “The Manager’s Guide to Draining the Drama from Annual Salary Reviews” now.

Why so many salary reviews go wrong

Now, in neither case is the problem with the raises themselves. Both were fair and reasonable. So, I guess that proves Angela and Peter are greedy, unreasonable people, right? No. Emphatically no! So who IS to blame?

In both these cases, the problem wasn’t with the system. And it wasn’t with the employees. The MANAGERS dropped the ball. Why? Because they obviously never educated Angela and Peter about how salaries work. They’re lacking a core skill for any manager – how to control the dialogue about money.

Money is THE most emotional topic in any workplace. For most employees, the default option is to equate the size of the raise with their self-worth. If they get a good raise, they think, “They love me” or “I must be a star.” On the flip side, a raise they perceive as low means (take your pick): “They don’t appreciate me. I’m worthless. My career is on the skids here.”

That’s the key point in this report: As manager, you need to manage expectations about money, and the only way to do that is to start a dialogue with the employee during the hiring process and continue that dialogue through the employee’s entire career with your company.

Help employees understand what makes a salary review ‘fair’

For managers who know how to talk to their people about money, the payoff is huge. They rarely have the “That’s unfair” discussion. There’s less sense of entitlement. And salary reviews are much less stressful because employees understand WHY they get paid as they do.

This free guide offers a four-part strategy for talking about money with employees. It’s called “The M.U.L.A.” Model.”

  • The “M” is for Market rates: Know the market rate for each job and be sure you’re paying competitively.
  • The “U” stands for Un-linking pay and self-worth. Employees need to understand that pay increases are often determined by factors that have nothing to do with their intrinsic value.
  • The “L” is about Leveling with employees – telling them the unvarnished truth about why they got the raise they got – good or bad.
  • And finally the “A” stands for Anticipating next year’s discussion. “Set the stage” for next year’s salary review by giving the person realistic expectations going forward.

To learn more about how to use the MULA model in your next employee salary review, watch The Manager’s Guide to Draining the Drama from Annual Salary Reviews. Access to this free video comes as part of a free trial to the Leadership & Management and Human Resources Rapid Learning Centers.


Steve Meyer
Stephen Meyer
CEO, Rapid Learning Institute


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