How to get a big raise ...

[font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 08-29-02 AT 07:12PM (CST)[/font][p]Okay, here's a question to throw out there. How do you determine if someone in your company gets a big raise? I have noticed that often, the employees that end up with more money are the ones who get a job offer elsewhere and we end up bargaining with them to keep them here. Yes, we wouldn't bargain with them unless we really wanted to keep them with us, but it seems unfair when you think about the loyal, hard-working guys and gals who stick to their jobs and don't force our hand. I know they get disgruntled when the ones who threaten to leave get a raise while they (the loyal ones) continue faithfully on. On the other hand, I guess you have to give those that make the effort to look for and find another job a little credit for their initiative. In a way, though, you are encouraging everyone to start looking for another job to get a nice raise.

What do you all think? Honestly, in the instances when employees have received the largest increases in salary in your company, was it in recognition of their work ethic or because they were threatening to leave?

Although it's sometimes hard to convince the higher-ups to give good annual increases, maybe the real problem here is that we aren't recognizing their hard work to begin with.


  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • You're right. The nature of the beast is that we do often bargain for our best people who 'say' they have another opportunity. We have given significant raises also to those who complete the MBA program (which the company paid for) with the assumption being that they are more valuable in the marketplace once they have it. If we don't increase them, they'll leave and we don't have an obligation in place that they must stay here. Otherwise, besides a few MBA and one or two 'bargained for' raises, our only ones are the standard 4% and those who receive promotions.
  • There really is no solution to this, it's the nature of the beast. Everyone has to decide whether or not they want to match the new salary of someone that we want to keep - we've done that twice in the last month. One thing that we can do though,is find out why the employee was available in the first place - was it just salary, a less than brilliant boss, or did someone come looking for the employee. I don't think that just because this happens occasionally that it generates employees looking for work and then coming back to bargain for a higher rate. Some may grumble a bit and then life returns to normal. The real losers are the managers who take the position that anyone who would do this demonstrates a lack of loyalty and they can jollly well leave. That sends the brain drain right out the door. I do think, though, that there should be some discussion about what the right course should be, match the salary or say good luck with your new job.
  • I think giving large raises to those employees threatening to leave can set a dangerous precedent. I used to work for a small company (50 employees) and during the four years I worked there, I knew of at least 15 people who quit and were enticed to stay by being given a large raise, and sometimes access to a company car. There were even rumors of a down payment for a new home being given to one employee and another employee's vacation days seemed to increase exponentially after threatening to quit.

    It created a very ugly work environment. Employees like me, the loyal, faithful employees who weren't looking to move, earned our annual merit increases only. We watched our counterparts who complained all the time go out and find new jobs, and then stay with the company. It was hard not to resent the person sitting next to you when you know they are earning much more money than you. What ending up happening over the years was the good hard workers left for a more equitable work environment, while the connivers took over the company. Employees learned that threatening to quit was the only way to really get ahead. I didn't want to be taken care of on my way out the door; I wanted to be taken care of because I was seen as a valued employee.

    The situation at this company was extreme. It was a small company, and everyone talked. The owner was a "reactor" who just put out fires as they came across his desk with no strategic planning and certainly no compensation system in place.

    I just offer this up as a cautionary tale. There probably are situations where a large increase to keep a good worker is merited. However, if it becomes the norm for departing employees, I believe you will cause bitterness, disharmony and you will lose good people. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said, "...maybe the real problem here is that we aren't recognizing their hard work to begin with."

    I'm happy to hear you're aware of the situation and are trying to come up with a solution. Good luck!

  • It is the policy of my current employer to not yield to the pressure of a "better paying" job. Most of the time it is the skilled labor who try this tactic and they come crawling back to us because more money in their hand today did not necessarily equate a better job next week (they got laid off when the big paying job was complete). Some of them we take back, some we don't.
  • We are a small company (14 employees) owned by a much larger one. The big company sets pay scales for all our positions based on the job description. On occassion, the CEO has offerred more money to employees threatening to quit, as long as the increase stayed in line with the pay range for the position. Sometimes it was enough, and sometimes it wasn't. This year we have done better financially, so I noticed she put large raises in the budget for 2 employees. These employees (I am one of them) are currently earning amounts in the low part of the "range" for the job. The CEO's goal is to have everyone around the middle of their pay range to make the work environment more equitable. A few are near the top of their range, but there is usually extenuating circumstances to explain it. Fortunately for our employees, we have a great CEO.
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