Conversations to Avoid During The Employee Compensation Process

by on June 11, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Don’t lie about employee compensation when employees are young

There are numerous do’s and don’ts about what to talk about in employee compensation meetings. Do talk to people like an adult when discussing employee compensation. Do build a salary system that stands up to scrutiny. If you don’t have an employee compensation system that makes sense, if you’re just defending subjectivity, it’s going to be hard to talk to them like an adult to an adult.

Talk to each person about where they fit in the larger picture. So, if they’re interested in what the future brings or what would a raise, or a promotion allow them, giving them some feel for what that’s mean is really great. That can spur them on and make them want to work hard.

On the other hand, here are some things not to do. Don’t link performance directly to base pay. There’s no real problem with linking performance to bonuses if you structure that right. But any attempt to say that last year’s performance dictates this year’s employee compensation is going to end in a cul de sac. It will not work. It is not sustainable.

Don’t discuss salaries of peers. There’s a real temptation for people to come in and say, “Wow, you know, I know darn well what they’re paying these people over there and you’re not paying me, you know, that is not fair.” If at all possible, avoid engaging in a conversation that confirms or denies what other people are getting paid.

Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Money is something people pay attention to. And if you have promised something that they’re going to get rewarded for something and you can’t do it, that’s a setback. You need to be able to have integrity to what you tell people here.

Don’t lie about employee compensation when employees are young. Don’t tell them the big lie that last year’s performance is the dictator of this year’s pay because when they get older, you’re going to have to change your tune. So it’s tempting to lie to them when they’re young. And a lot of us want to walk down that path. But you need to remember if you go down that path, the check will come due one day.

Edited Remarks from “How to Drain the Drama from Salary Reviews: A Conversation Roadmap” by Gary Markle

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