5 Ways to Productively Reject Employee Raises

How to Constructively Turn Down Someone Who Doesn’t Deserve a Raise

What to Do When Average Doesn’t Cut It

No doubt about it, your team is working hard. But one day, an employee pops into your office and subsequently asks for a raise.

He’s a fairly good worker, but frankly he hasn’t done anything extraordinary to deserve a boost to his own bottom line. You don’t want to offend him—or worse, lose him—by turning down his request, but you can’t approve it either. Here’s how to keep your employee motivated—and on the job—with these tips.

5. Listen to Your Employee

Unless there has been major hinting happening around the water cooler, an employee’s request for a raise can come out of left field.

You don’t want to say no on the spot and risk offending your employee, so hear what he has to say. Let him point out all the reasons he feels deserving of a little extra padding in his paycheck. After all, there might be projects he’s worked on that you’re not aware of that could change your mind. But even if there isn’t, the very least you can do for employees who muster up the courage to ask for a raise is give them your full attention and seriously consider their side.

4. Do Your Own Research

Your employee will be presenting her case through rose-colored glasses, so make sure you go through her history to check performance for yourself.

Review the number of times she has already received a raise, and why. Combing through her file will help you have clear facts to determine why she may or may not be worthy of a raise. Jot down points to support your case so you can refer to specifics during your face-to-face.

3. Be Competitive

Search to see what other employers are paying for similar work to the one performed by your employee.

Is the pay competitive? If your employee’s earnings are comparable to what’s currently being offered in the market, you can cite this as a reason why he doesn’t deserve a raise at this time.

2. Schedule a Meeting

Once you’re armed with all the facts—including your employee’s overall job performance, his salary demands and the market rate for his position—it’s time for a meeting.

Tact is key. It’s never pleasant or easy to turn down an employee’s request, so act accordingly. Remove emotion from the equation and let your employee know you thought about this and did your research as well. Presenting him/her with facts will help illustrate why you a raise won’t be granted. Referencing reputable data also helps avoid making you look like the bad guy, which is vital since you still have to manage this worker in the future.

1. Remain Constructive

Before you let your dejected employee leave your office, it’s up to you to dispense some good career advice.

Make it clear he/she occupies an important position on the team, and offer tips on how to boost future performance to ensure a raise at the next employee review. If done correctly, you will be creating a more invested employee whose raise request was not rejected, but merely postponed to a date in the not-so-distant future.

Rejecting an employee’s request for a raise can certainly have negative results. So base your decision on facts, while still treating your employee compassionately, and motivating him/her to try harder to score a raise the next time.

When an employee comes into your office and asks for a raise, it’s a safe bet he/she has done a lot of research involving salaries. So you need to make sure you’ve done your own.


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