Question: I am in charge of a business vertical of a BSE 100 company based out of Gurgaon. Of late, one of my best employees have been asking for a raise because he found a salary data on the Internet that he believes shows he is underpaid. I don’t want to lose him as he is a terrific team player and a highly productive employee. But at the same time I doubt he is that underpaid. How should I handle the situation? [Rohit Garg, Gurgaon]
Ans.: Handling this type of discussion on such a sensitive subject can be difficult, but it is also an excellent opening for a frank conversation with that employee about his professional needs while you get direct feedback about his view of his job and the company. We suggest that you treat his concerns with respect and schedule time with him to discuss his issues. We doubt he may have been searching the Internet for jobs as well. Let him know that he is valuable to the company and you want to hear his concerns. However, prior to the meeting, review your company’s reason for paying the employee at his current salary. The compensation rates are probably due to a number of factors, including your internal company compensation strategy, and his performance level etc. For instance, your company’s strategy might be to pay below market level because your benefits or overtime plans are so rich. If you are satisfied that you are paying him the proper compensation for this job, then think about how you will present that information to him. Our experience says that during the course of these types of conversations, although compensation may be mentioned as the presenting problem, often the issue is really not that. You could find that the issues are more about the job itself, development opportunities, career goals, etc. So be prepared to have a career development discussion with the employee about where he currently fits in the organisation, what additional skills he may need to move his career in the direction he wants it to go, or other considerations. We are sure this will force him to rethink his decision or the probable exit.