It’s every manager’s nightmare, your top-performing employee comes into your office and asks you for a well-deserved raise.

Unbeknownst to the employee but known all too well to you is the budget and company policy. And you know for a fact there are not funds available to give raises or promotions.

What do you do?

Let’s face it, this is a hard spot to be in. You need to show your top-performing employees you value them, and their contributions are recognized and appreciated. Even though this is a hard spot to be in, it’s not an impossible spot. Here are some options to consider showing your employees you value and appreciate them – even without a raise.

First, Ask Questions

Before you give the news there aren’t funds available for a raise, consider this conversation as an opportunity to find out what motivates them. Find out what they consider to be fair compensation and be sure to discuss all compensation aspects, including vacation, flextime, fringe benefits, etc.

Look into what they want to learn and accomplish professionally. Maybe there is training they can attend or a project they can lead. Top performers are usually overachievers and offering them a lead role on a project or giving them an opportunity to develop new skills shows your genuine interest in their career and development.

Next, Be Honest

Your employees are not privy to the same level of company information you are. Share with them, to the extent you can, the reasons there is not money for raises. Being honest and transparent with employees shows trust. Be empathetic and acknowledge their accomplishments as well. It’s okay to say, “If this was 100% in my control, of course I’d give you a raise. But unfortunately, this goes beyond my approval authority.”

Finally, Be an Advocate

If you have truly deserving employees while knowing there is a policy of ‘no raises’ it’s okay to still advocate on their behalf. Just because a raise isn’t available, maybe there is a one-time bonus that could be secured from a different budget line. Or perhaps there is funding in the training budget to send them to that conference they have always wanted to go to.

Also, continue to think about recognition in other meaningful ways that are within your authority to grant. Some ideas are inviting them to share important findings at a company-wide meeting, giving them time to pursue interests and passion projects outside of work.

Be a Leader

Managing people means considering the needs of your team and how you can align them to accomplish the goals and objectives of the company you work for. It’s not always an easy job, but if done with purpose, leadership can be an extremely rewarding role.

Contact the staffing experts at Jarvi Group to accomplish your recruitment goals.

Jarvi Group

© Jarvi Group

1350 Scribner Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504


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