Do You Need A Raise?

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Do You Need A Raise?

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Job raises are serious business. It isn’t something that most people or organizations take lightly. What about you, do you need a raise?

business people group on meeting

It’s certainly not a secret that most people desire compensation for the work that they perform. Sometimes in motivation seminars I urge participants to think about what else is important for them about their job. Not just the money, not the paycheck or the bonus, but what is really important to them about coming to work every day and putting in an honest effort.

Responses vary and typically around 10% will insist that the only reason for working is for money. I’m hopeful that 10% is not you, but whether it is, or isn’t, how do you know if you deserve a raise?

I had an interesting question the other day, someone asked in a sort of sarcastic tone, “How do you determine if someone should get a raise?”

It caught me off guard and I started to think about the concepts of merit increases, cost of living increases, and market adjustment increases but before I could answer another stream of sarcasm came my way by this person stating, “You look in the parking lot to see what the employees are driving.”

Believe it or not

While it seems surprising to me, I guess that I should not be so surprised. This discussion led to additional discussion about a conversation that occurred between several top executives and some select members of the Human Resources department.

In at least one case, an executive who carried significant weight in determining pay increases was suggesting increases for some of the team, but not for others. The justification for the increases (or not) had to do with his perception of need.

His contributions to the conversation presented nothing about performance, nothing about market rate, and nothing about the cost of living. He reminded everyone that they as an organization were operating on a very tight budget and that he personally knew several team members who really needed a raise, and others who did not.

From my understanding, as the conversation continued it included discussion points about the type of car that the employees drive, where they live, how many children they have, and other personal factors that were not relevant or connected to their job performance.

I believe it, because I’ve witnessed similar behaviors, first hand. I know as I write this that some may openly agree that we should help the less fortunate, and I’m not disagreeing with that concept, but unless your organization is a charity designed to do such things you might want to think twice.

Performance matters

Many organizations have different ways of determining pay increases and that is certainly their prerogative, some systems work well for certain people or organizational cultures and others may find something different as an attractive method for hiring and retaining the best workforce.

Labor union negotiations and other factors are sometimes a big part of compensation package decisions and there are so many different ideologies you could fill the pages of an entire book with what works, what doesn’t, and why.

The purpose of this article is not to aggravate an already tricky situation, it isn’t to anger any persons or cause organizational turmoil in any way.

The purpose is to suggest that if you are determining pay raises for employees based on your perception of the employees needs based on the type of car that they drive, the home that they choose, or the vacation that they take, then you better be prepared to deal with the type of organizational culture that will expect rewards not for achievement, but for merely existing.

What about you, do you need a raise?


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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