Give’em a Raise


“Give’em a raise.”

It was the number one response I got when I told people I was writing a book about managing employee turnover.

“Give’em a raise.”

I kind of liken it to saying, “Lower your prices,” when someone explains they’d like to sell more of their product or services.

“Give’em a raise” is even more akin, though, to paying your suppliers more in an effort to buy their loyalty. It may work, but its certainly not sustainable and there are many other more cost effective approaches to obtaining the goal.

My guess is that “Give’em a raise” is the number one response because people believe pay is the number one reason for employee turnover. This is the first myth among five common myths busted by my co-authored book – Managing Employee Turnover.

Pay and pay satisfaction are not in the top ten predictors of employee turnover. Neither are in the top two-dozen. There are at least 29 better predictors of employee turnover than pay and pay satisfaction.

Employee turnover is better predicted by one’s relationship with their supervisor, satisfaction with their supervisor and co-workers, and work group cohesion.

Why?

Because behind every employee turnover there’s an employee – a person – a human being. (I hope to touch on this further in future posts.)

Over the years I’ve hired individuals for part time yard work, usually in the summer. I was particularly impressed with one young man whose services were invaluable for the several projects we wanted to complete before the school year started back again. In a nutshell, I wanted to retain his loyalty. I could “give’em a raise.” Or, I could work beside him literally in the trenches, befriend him, and offer a bottomless glass of lemonade.

I chose the relational over the transactional. The projects were completed on time. I made a lifelong friend, and there was no question about who’d be working with me over the next summer.

I encourage you, when dealing with your employees to choose the relational over the transactional.

© Dr. Phil Bryant

Dr. Bryant is an Assistant Professor of Management at Columbus State University and co-author of Managing Employee Turnover.

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87 Comments

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87 responses to “Give’em a Raise

  1. Hi, you post interesting content on your page, you deserve much more visitors, just search in google for – augo’s
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  2. Food for thought: I love manual labor. I love working with my hands. It gets me out in the sunshine, off my a**, and it can be a very good form of exercise as well. This morning I worked a couple of hours clearing brush for a neighboring business. I was paid less than $10 / hour and a free lunch. I’ll do it again next week if I have time. (Of course we all need money, but I didn’t work this morning for the pay. I did it for all the benefits listed above plus a couple of hours working shoulder-to-shoulder with one of my sons.)

    Extrinsic rewards are important but intrinsic rewards are, too.

    I’m loving the conversation here and only wish I had the time to read all of the comments. (I guess if I’da not worked outside this morning, I’da had time to read the comments.) Work-Life is always a balance.

    Good day.

  3. Sonya Boadu

    Offering a little extra money to a dissatisfied employee will only solve the dissatisfaction if pay is the cause of their dissatisfaction. But most of the time, pay is not the cause for dissatisfaction. Contrary to popular belief employee pay is not the main cause for employee turnover. Giving a dissatisfied employee additional pay may temporarily prevent the employee from leaving but if other factors are the true source of the dissatisfaction, the employee will eventually return to the feelings of dissatisfaction. For instance, if an employee was never integrated into the social environment of the office or department, if they feel like an outsider, a pay increase will not solve the reason that the employee feels out of place in the organization and will eventually return to seeking a more socially pleasing work environment. As more “millennials” enter the workforce, this situation will likely become more evident. While offering more pay to a dissatisfied employee may be a temporary fix for managers to retain a valuable and productive employee, a good manager should understand that pay is not the most likely cause of voluntary employee turnover and learn to recognize signals of employee dissatisfaction so that they can attempt to minimize, solve, or avoid any dissatisfaction.

  4. Anonymous

    The major problem I see with giving a dissatisfied employee extra money to appease them, is the fact that other employees may try to get the same thing. Employees pay close attention to their peers and they can tell when something is different. When employee B notices that employee A has a more positive attitude than normal (and it becomes a consistent), employee B will then ask employee A about the change. Once employee A tells employee B about the raise problems will arise with employee B because they feel that they are just as valuable to the company and they too deserve a raise.

    • Jasmine Jones

      This was written by Jasmine Jones

      • Joe Bacchus

        Jasmine I understand about that issue…for some perspective….Add some insight as a parent. A manager of a household. Son #2 wants a raise in monthly allowance. I’m willing to add to the monthly if he brings up his grade from a B to an A in Science. All other grades are spectacular. So, we agree to the plan. He isn’t upset, he is motivated and engaged in the plan. We agree to added time with some assistance from another team player. Son #1 offers to tutor his brother in science. Strategy= open, honest, respectful, connected relationship. His performance will be rewarded with a raise. He has been honored with performance in other ways too. He has been on the job for a few years without a raise. We have the same information, everyone in the house knows what each other one receives for allowance.

      • Well said, Joe Bacchus. And it goes both ways. We’ve had the conversations in our house that there will be no additional pay, but the work will be increased. Even this can go over well (if briefly) in organizations that are led well.

  5. Anonymous

    Hire the right person for the job. Learn about the person in the work space and in company social events. Learn about what drives them in life. How do they perceive the work, family and friends. Talk to your people, listen to what they say. Look for ways to inspire them to work up to expectations and goals.

  6. Brittnee Dalton

    Writing a bigger check is a good way to temporarily cover an employee’s problem. There are plenty of examples of employees with six figure jobs that change companies at a substantial pay cuts. I might be exaggerating slightly, but I was recently in a conversation with a relative who said he would be willing to start completely over if he can find another job in Atlanta. Yes, in most cases receiving a raise is a good way to retain an employee, if money is the root of the problem. In most cases employees leave their current jobs because of a poor work environment, poor management, or the inability for them to grow within in the company. Some employees man be willing to leave because of changes within a company policy, or things such as a companies political involvement. Throwing money at these issues can also be costly, and in some cases companies pay out more money to keep pitiful employees. Someone once said more money more problems, which is very relevant in dealing with employee turnovers.

  7. Nicholus Kozee

    Pay is a poor motivator. I have found in my line of work, a dissatisfied employee will be dissatisfied regardless of pay. While a pay increase may buy you a little time, the underlying issue has not been solved thus the issues experienced by the employee will reconstitute themselves so when you encounter an employee problem, do not immediately throw money at it, get down to the underlying cause and then work from there.

    • Brittnee Dalton

      You are absolutely right. I think managers tend to over look somethings because they are not part of the action all the time. Sometimes you can look at a job, and predict what problems employees are going to face, and put measures in place to deal with them before they get out of control. Seems like management can be out of touch these days, and that is why they try to solve things with a raise. .

  8. Drew Dades

    What can be wrong with offering a little extra $ to a dissatisfied, yet otherwise valuable and productive employee?

    Offering a raise to a dissatisfied, yet otherwise valuable and productive employee is an issue of situation. If a manager offers a raise to a dissatisfied and productive employee because they have gone above and beyond expectations of their job, then by all means, they should receive the raise (even if they may not be currently content). However, if a manager is offering a raise to simply try to re-energize an employee who has become complacent then the manager may be setting a precedent that he/she may be unprepared to keep. If an employee gains the idea that he/she can gain a raise by simply being dissatisfied, the workplace will quickly become gloomy and unproductive. I would submit that offering the employee a promotion would do more to more to help challenge dissatisfaction than simply offering a raise.

  9. Johan Swanepoel

    Sorry I posted this before and did’nt attach my name to it.. “Money is everything to people up to a certain point. I know the statistics say that 40000 is the amount that money does not matter to you anymore and you are more into the personal satisfaction from the job. However, my philosophy is that it depends on the person and the industry. I believe that money will always be a huge factor no matter what. However your thoughts change. Where you from before thought about money before you thought about the job you might now think about the consequences your actions might have on the job if you think about the money only. We are all animals and our nature is to survive and for us to survive in the modern world we have to think about ourself and our wealth. Thus, my opinion is that money will always be the leading factor in the world, even though it is the very thing thing that is destroying our society and making it impossible for us to service. “

    • Steven Paine:
      What can be wrong with offering a little extra $ to a dissatisfied, yet otherwise valuable and productive employee? If an organization were to give raises to every dissatisfied, yet valuable employee they would handing outr raises left right and center. By fixing problems with $, you are empowering the employee, allowing them to believe that if they are unhappy the organization will keep raising to keep them on board. This theory holds no value to it. The organization should focus on keeping employees satisfied rather then paying them off. Job satisfaction is ultimately what will keep employees, rather than the occasional raise.

  10. Roger Hagues

    What can be wrong with offering a little extra $ to a dissatisfied, yet otherwise valuable and productive employee?

    Offering extra money to an employee who is dissatisfied is bad for numerous reasons. Primarily, offering the money ignores the real reasons that the employee is considering leaving. Money may have been the main reason cited but usually there is some other attribute of the job that is causing dissatisfaction to the employee. It could be an overbearing manager, excessive workload, not getting along with the team, or lack of interest in the field. Most people would be willing to work for less money if they were able to have their dream job. Another problem with offering extra money to this employee is that sets a precedent to other employees to seek out new job offers in an attempt to elicit a counter-offer. The final problem and perhaps the most relevant is that research has shown that pay is not related to turnover. This seems to be in contrast to what most people intuitively believe but it is proven by research.

  11. Erin Thames

    I think the majority of the workforce needs to feel valued, appreciated and a part of something bigger than them. A little goes a long way couldn’t be more true. A little visibility from your supervisor, a cupcake on your birthday and a handwritten note can move mountains for employees. I like your working in the trenches approach. To me is goes with the principle of “never ask someone to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself”. A pay increase offers a short term solution. Boosting moral and increasing an employees feeling of worth in their career has long term implications- not to mention a positive correlation with job production.

  12. Anonymous

    Money is everything to people up to a certain point. I know the statistics say that 40000 is the amount that money does not matter to you anymore and you are more into the personal satisfaction from the job. However, my philosophy is that it depends on the person and the industry. I believe that money will always be a huge factor no matter what. However your thoughts change. Where you from before thought about money before you thought about the job you might now think about the consequences your actions might have on the job if you think about the money only. We are all animals and our nature is to survive and for us to survive in the modern world we have to think about ourself and our wealth. Thus, my opinion is that money will always be the leading factor in the world, even though it is the very thing thing that is destroying our society and making it impossible for us to service.

  13. Burgundy Lewis

    I agree with my peers: Pay is not always everything. True, we need money to survive, but money does not always supply us with happiness. It pays the bills, but dissatisfaction will eventually pry into our relationships with family, friends, and other things or people we enjoy being around. To me, support from my managers, colleagues, and work progress are the best pay I or any employee could ever receive. These are the things we look for when we consider leaving or staying with a company. Right?

    However, how much money do you really need to make you happy when you are looking for the nearest exit?

    • Brittnee Dalton

      It depends on what your needs are. I think that happiness is tossed to the wind if the need is high enough.

  14. Ashley Williams

    Money is not the answer and most of the time it is not the problem either. When you offer extra money to a dissatisfied employee you are placing a bandaid over the real issue. That employee has been productive and continues to add value to the company, a little extra money is not going to make the problem go away. This is where managers need to really understand their employees and step in and talk to them, ask them what issues they are facing and hit the issues head on. Sometimes employees just want to be heard and know that they have a voice, managers taking the time to listen could go a long way. Covering up the issues is not the way to keep productive and valuable employees happy, depending on their age all they may need is some praise and recognition which goes a long way.

    • Burgundy Lewis

      Ashley,

      Covering pertinent issues reminds me of the famous metaphorical idiom of “there’s an elephant in the room”. We (people) do not like to be ignored or looked over in any situation. Whether we are in class, at home, or at work, neglecting someone’s voice or opinion is not appropriate and disrupts communication channels. Unfortunately, ignoring one employee will trigger other employees to pay attention and to take note of the matter(s) at hand.

  15. Vanessa Colton

    I truly believe that an employee relationship with their supervisor goes along way. Pay has some importance with an employee but an employee that loves to come to work because they love their work environment and they feel appreciated by their supervisors is a intrinsic reward that goes further than pay. It makes their job more satisfying

    • Burgundy Lewis

      Vanessa, I agree! I have been in this situation before and dread reliving the nightmare. Positions/jobs like this make you work harder to get the things you want the most in life. They are the catalysts that drive you to the next level or job. No one wants to be miserable!

  16. Jennifer Alberti

    As an employee it is easy to become blind-sighted by pay. However, when overhearing complaints of employees, I often find that subconsciously they are complaining of people or lack of resources for their job. Only when asked up front “What is least satisfying about your job?” do they respond with “Pay”. Perhaps it is simply the most reliable answer they can find.

    • Laura Mitchell

      Giving employees a raise is most often the reaction to avoid employee turnover. However, like was stated, there are usually other underlying causes for leaving a position. Even though you are paid well does not necessarily mean that you will have any job satisfaction. The environment or stressful conditions that you work in may not equal out to the paycheck you are receiving and thus leads employees to look for other jobs, sometimes with lower pay grades. I believe that pay is one of the influencing factors when people look for their first job, but after that they quickly learn that does not make for a satisfying job.

  17. Jillian Lakes

    Give em a raise – from the employee prospective all of us would take more money in our paycheck. But that would not make our job any more satisfying. If we are unsatisfied with our job and we honestly look at the reason why, it usually is because of something besides money – bad manager, poor work schedule, job is too far away, or just don’t get along with co-workers. From the employers point of view – you can’t give every employee what they want when they complain not matter what the complaint, or you wouldn’t be in business anymore. If the employee is asking for more money because they have taken on more job duties, then honestly look at that persons responsibilities and see if you are paying them fairly. Sometimes you have to hold you ground that you are paying people fairly and let them try the greener grass on the other side…usually they find out it isn’t as green as they thought.

  18. William Chapman

    I used to think that pay was one of the most important factors that kept people at their jobs. However, that factor quickly made its way towards the bottom of the list as while I worked at my last job. I was not getting paid very well, but I really enjoyed the the satisfaction I was getting from my job. I befriended the employees and they made it fun to work there. I also befriended some of the customers and the satisfaction I got when I helped them out with a problem far exceeded the dissatisfaction I had with my low pay. I agree 100% with this article because there are so many more aspects to whether someone stays with one organization or leaves for higher money.

    • Jillian Lakes

      I agree that work satisfaction comes from much more than pay. I think that is why so many people work/volunteer for non-profits,to see the benefits of job satisfaction. Sometimes the environment and co-workers make it worth coming to work, or knowing that you are helping someone.

      • Ashley Williams

        I definitely agree with your statement, people working for non-profits are in it for the end result…helping others. The job satisfaction that most people get is helping others and not pay. Many issues are triggered by something other than pay.

    • Jennifer Alberti

      Very true. Usually, even if they are leaving for more money, there was an initial trigger that made them search for another job.

  19. Nytavius Price

    I agree that it isn’t always in the best interests of a company or manager to rely on raises as an incentive for company loyalty. I would much rather have a manager that genuinely believed in my quality of work and commitment, opposed to a manager that felt that money was the key to making me operate. Money is important to an extent, but some people operate more off of intrinsic rewards and idea that they are valued members of a team. I think that clearly expressing where an employee stands in an organization and where they have the possibility of going is just as important as trying to keep them with a raise. From the perspective of the company, as you mentioned, it can be very cost-ineffective in the long run to throw money at the problems.

  20. Anonymous

    Question #1: Evidence-based management (EBM) is organizational guidance that is based in scientific evidence. As organizational leaders it is vitally important that managers have a deep understanding of their work environment, the employees, and the forces that impact their organization internally (promotion opportunities, co-worker relationships, information dissemination) and externally (alternative benefits, product or service demand levels, changes in the industry, revenues). Each of these and several more have an impact on an employee’s level of job satisfaction; and as Robbins & Judge discuss in our textbook, job satisfaction impacts many areas within a company, i.e. performance, customer satisfaction, absenteeism, company culture, and instances of deviance (2012).

    Organization scientists can be helpful to leaders by offering them assessment tools that will aid research about their company. Scientists can also provide analysis to leaders so that they might understand employee behavior and its potential impact on the company. This type of insight would allow managers to encourage activities and behaviors that improve productivity or job satisfaction or both and it serves as an early warning or indicator for activities that might negatively impact their company.

    Managers have to make a research a regular part of their job. They should be up to date on the forces impacting their industry as well as conducting regular assessments of their employees’ perceptions of their job and their company. Managers should develop a historical database of their employees’ attitude and watch for trends or spikes and find out if there are operational or administrative changes that might be contributing to changes in employees’ attitudes. A manager’s successful use of EBM is rooted in the quality of his/her research.

    Question #2: Figure 1.1 is similar to an iceberg, if you are a manager that is only interested in surface information about your employees then you run the risk of allowing your department or team or company to be sunk by information or trends that you were not aware of and/or did not anticipate. On the other hand, if you are a manager that is engaged in research and understanding your unit and obtaining a deeper knowledge about your workplace, you are able to anticipate issues, you are able to see indicators and behaviors that predict turnover, and you can make decisions that allow you to more effectively navigate the various types of turnover. As a manager you should be able to determine the types of turnover you are experiencing and make decisions accordingly, if the turnover is voluntary and functional, then you understand that temporary adjustments of course will be necessary to recruit and train a replacement. If the turnover is dysfunctional and avoidable then you may need to change your course completely to avoid disaster and further loss.

  21. Chris Burford

    Giving a raise to an employee that is dissatisfied, but valuable and productive employee could cause an issue. For one reason, the employee is now going to know that the company “needs” him and can try to use the same strategy again down the road. More than likely it will happen, because for most people pay is not what makes them satisfied with their job. The second reason would be that other employees are going to hear about it somehow and it will end up causing a bigger problem for the company that just letting one employee go. I am sure in some cases giving a small raise to solve a problem would work out, but companies need to be ethical when it comes to situations like this one.

    • Jillian Lakes

      Good point Chris, sometimes it is not good for the employee to think or know that you (the company) needs him more than he needs his job. Sometimes the company has to take a risk and let the employee go and search for new talent.

    • William Chapman

      I have always heard that “pay is a secret thing that only you and your employer are supposed to know about”. I like your second point because no matter how secret anything is, people are going to talk about it no matter what it is.

  22. LuMarie

    Well, ideally if you have a valued employee you would want to give them reasonable merit raises and a work environment where they feel engaged and challenged. However, when looking at impending turnover the damage has already been done. The employee has already emotionally detached. If the cause is truly monetary, for example their spouse was laid off or wants to stay home etc., and a raise is a reasonable request, then it could work. However, if there are other problems such as mobility prospects, then a raise could keep that employee for another year or two, but they may not be as engaged and will ultimately leave. Then there is also the message that it sends. If one employee threatens to leave and gets a raise, then other employees may see themselves as less appreciated by the company. Alternatively, they may decide to take the same route to try and get a raise as well.

    • Jennifer Alberti

      Valid point LuMarie. At that point management has put the ball in the employees’ court and left themselves vulnerable. Management loses some credibility when they allow employees to pull their own strings and dictate how a situation is to be handled.

  23. Does money matter? It depends. Ask a dad who just had his first child. Will he choose flexible work schedule over money? You bet. Now think about a father with four kids who are preparing to attend college. It is inevitable that he will work overtime to make more money or will look for jobs that pay more. So with your point that choosing relational is the better option for employers, I want to add that our requirement changes over the time. Employers have to deal with these situations tactfully. As an example for the dad of a new born they should grant him paid leave to compensate for those hours later. But for the person who just needs to earn more money, managers can provide him extra responsibilities and compensate for the added work. In the second case, raise is the way to go.

  24. Chris Olds

    I completely agree that managers should focus on a relational management strategy rather than a transactional strategy. The more close-knit a firm, department, work group, sub-group, etc. is, the more emotionally attached members are to each other, and ultimately that makes it more difficult and emotional for employees to leave their positions. It’s almost like divorcing your coworkers when you leave a job where you have spent so much time building relationships with each other. Employee retention based on pay is flawed because there will always be jobs in the market with better pay, but will those jobs also provide employees with a sense of belonging; one of our basic human needs that motivates behavior and influences factors such as job satisfaction that ultimately affect employee turnover.

    • William Chapman

      I agree with your points. If you work a full time job, you spend more time during the week with your coworkers than you do with your own family, in most cases. Also, you pointed out that humans have that sense of belonging. The intrinsic value our relationships with one another far out weight the monetary value a possible $3000 dollar a year can add.

  25. Jake martinec

    Pay increases to dissatisfied employees can cause multiple problems. A pay increase could cause a domino effect of other employees becoming disgruntled in hopes of receiving compensation. Because research has determined that pay is a low predictor of employee turnover the important issue is determining the root of the employee’s discontent. Initiatives to increase job satisfaction or programs to better train managers about employee relationships would prove more beneficial in managing turnover long term.

    • Kristin Sellers

      I like your point about the domino effect. This is a scenario that I had not previously thought of, but you are correct. If one employee is given a raise or promotion then their peers will expect the same outcome, especially if the employee who was given a raise has not been performing any more efficiently than others.

    • Ashley Williams

      You pose an interesting point, if every dissatisfied employee went to management and wanted more money to make them happy companies would be out of business. The domino effect would be detrimental to bottom line. Managers need to be creative and think of ways to keep employees engaged in their jobs as well as satisfied in what they are doing. I think that is a growing task for managers as technology changes and the attention span of employees is shortening because of the numerous “noise” (social media, email, etc…) Managers that can engage their employees and help them grow will be very successful and have employees willing to work hard for them.

  26. Kristin Sellers

    Offering a raise to a dissatisfied employee is only a temporary solution to the real problem in most cases. The majority of employees do not leave their company based on the amount of money they are making; rather they leave the company due to poor working conditions or poor interaction with their peers and supervisors. In order to effectively understand why an employee is unhappy and looking for other options, management should reach out to that employee (as shown above) and personally interact with them to determine how to improve their situation. Once the manager has a clear understanding on the problem, they can take steps to alleviate the problem and increase the job satisfaction of the employee. Communication, rather than pay, is the key in determining how to properly motivate employees and is essential in determining what the underlining problem is when dealing with employee turnover. Offering a pay increase to a dissatisfied employee will only result in the issue being brought up again over the course of time, since the real issue was never resolved.

  27. Bryson Amey

    Giving employees extra money is like adding gas to a fire. The book states that pay level and pay satisfaction are relatively weak predictors of turnover. Therefore, giving money will only be more costly and less effective to the workplace, because the manager has yet to get to the cause of the problem. The issues that normally arise are of key job attitudes, and work environment problems.

    • Jennifer Alberti

      I believe you are correct. Pay is an easy defense that can be used to strike conversation with management. The bottom line is a lazy employee will be lazy and a productive employee will be productive whether he is paid more or the same. It is the employees that should be evaluated, not their compensation.

    • Ashley Williams

      Gas to a fire is correct and once that employee becomes dissatisfied again they are going to go back looking for more money. You cannot cover up a problem with money it only creates more problems.

  28. Anonymous

    Giving employees extra money is like adding gas to a fire. The book states that pay level and pay satisfaction are relatively weak predictors of turnover. Therefore, giving money will only be more costly and less effective to the workplace, because the manager has yet to get to the cause of the problem. The issues that normally arise are of key job attitudes, and work environment problems.

    • Burgundy Lewis

      Correct! Once again, if you ignore the issue(s), the problem will only get worse. Raises are not the answer.

  29. Tamu Taylor

    Offering a little extra money to a dissatisfied, yet otherwise valuable and productive employee will only put a band-aid on the real problem.
    Money may not be the motivating factor for a dissatisfied employee it could be a deeper underlying problem.
    Even if money does motivate this employee, after a while, the employee will probably still be dissatisfied and still seek more money and the cycle continues – as a famous rapper once stated, “more money more problems”.
    Dr. Bryant’s approach to building a relationship or using the relationship that is already built to find out what’s really going on would be a better way to keep this valuable and productive employee versus using a bland transactional approach.

  30. Joungho Choi

    When a person start a job the first day, he or she has an expectation about the job based on the job description. Employers need to nurture and challenge employees to grow and improve. If employees only care his or her paycheck, employers can not make employees satisfy the job.

  31. Brent Kimbell

    Throwing money at a problem when money is not the problem only creates another problem. We know from research that once a person reaches about $40,000 a year, then the relationship between pay and job satisfaction almost disappears. If everyone in your organization were ready to leave, would your organization be prepared to hand out pay raises across the board? I doubt it. Maybe it’s best to do nothing and wait for more people to quit, or worse, a union tries to get involved. Maybe pay is the issue, and if so, pay them. It may be that you have a supervisor that needs to learn how to act. Either way it’s always best to get to the root of the problem, fix it and drive on.

  32. Kim McAfee

    Giving a raise to a dissatisfied, yet valuable employee can be beneficial…only if that is the true source of the problem. Open and honest discussion is needed to ascertain what the issue is. For example, if the employee is truly disheartened by the lack of promotion ability in the organization, increased pay will only be a positive in the immediate future.

    Generally speaking, I do think giving a raise to a dissatisfied employee is setting a dangerous precedent…what will happen the next time they want a raise? If not given, will the dissatisfaction grow into overt negative behaviors? This could potentially spread among co-workers and could create greater problems.

    • Angela Koenke

      I agree. Open communication is key for both manager and employee. Performance evaluations, for both manager and employee, are also crucial when determining to give a good, hardworking, and dedicated employee a raise; especially when the hard working employee is and asset to the company and only dissatisfied because of pay. However, determining the root of dissatisfication, like you said, is important for both the long and short term. Pay will only make the disguntialed employee satisfied for a short period, especially if the underlying root was else, i.e: culture, coworker/manager relationship, or work-balance lifestyle!

    • Bryson Amey

      I agree, even if money is the issue, there still should be communication about other factors in the workplace so future issues wont arise.

    • Kristin Sellers

      I agree completely with all of your statements. If an employee is rewarded with a raise and the real issue is not uncovered, their dissatisfaction will only continue to grow and could lead to negative behaviors and a poor outcome for the organization.

  33. Ashley Purvis

    Even if an employee leaves their company for a higher paying job pay is not THE reason they decide to leave. Often time’s employees don’t feel they can advance in their career at their current company or they have poor relationships with their co-workers which lead them to start searching for a new job in the first place. Organizations should focus on the internal aspects which are driving their employees to search for work elsewhere instead of bribing them to stay with a raise.

  34. Justin Michel

    There’s a difference between trying to retain someone in a career field compared to someone working a temporary job. If I’m trying to hire the teenager down the street (who I don’t know very well) for an odd job then giving him/her a few extra dollars may make all the difference. But when trying to retain a full time worker, numerous research has shown that the relationship between the employee and the company and their organizational commitment are much stronger indicators of job satisfaction and retention.

    • Ashley Purvis

      As the author of the blog stated giving an employee a raise to keep them with your company is not sustainable. First of all usually there are other factors besides pay which caused the employee to be dissatisfied with their job in the first place, giving them a raise does not solve the underlying issues. Also, if the company makes it a habit to give dissatisfied employees a raise in order to keep them with the company eventually they may start to hurt the company’s growth because they are using more money to pay their employees’ salaries and not using that money to invest in new projects that will allow the company to grow

  35. Samuel Abegaz

    I do not see anything wrong with offering a little extra $ to a dissatisfied, yet otherwise valuable and productive employee. The question is: What is the reason for his/her dissatisfaction? Is it job or pay dissatisfaction or else? Is his/her position pivotal than others? If it is due to pay, offering little extra $ for a valuable and productive employee is the right thing to do. For this kind of employee, the turnover cost for valuable and productive employee will be higher than the benefit, if (s)he leaves the organization.

    • Ashley Crosby

      I agree with your assessment. Employers must first know the real reason the employee is looking outside the organization. Furthermore, employees who are highly skilled and productive are the one’s organizations have invested in and want to keep. I see no problem rewarding the employee with a raise in order to keep them in the organization. The cost of turnover for that type of employee far exceed the raise in pay.

    • Ashley Purvis

      I disagree. I think raises should be made based on achievements that warrant a raise not just because the employee is dissatisfied. I also believe with each raise should come new responsibilities for that employee as well. If you were to give an employee a raise simply because they claim to be dissatisfied what is to keep them from demanding another raise a year down the road because they know their company will give them one if they threaten to leave?

      • Tamara Gruda

        I agree with you Ashley, dissatisfied employee shouldn’t be given raise simple because he is dissatisfied. However, my interpretation of what Samuel said is not to just give money to the dissatisfied employee but to find a reason behind the dissatisfaction. If money is the reason a very productive and valuable employee is unhappy that should be an easy fix. The raise will turn good employee into great.

      • Jillian Lakes

        I agree that you shouldn’t give a raise to a dissatisfied employee just because the employee complains or threatens to leave. Because once you gave that employee the raise, all the other employees will know and ask for one and threaten to leave, then what? Are you going to give raises to everyone? But I agree with Tamara, that what I think Samuel was really saying was investigate to see if you are first paying the employee a fair wage, maybe you are under paying the employee for all of his responsibilities. What if that employee has taken on extra work but not be compensated for it? Evaluate and get the facts of the situation and if the employee isn’t getting a fair wage, then the right thing to do would be to give the raise, maybe not what the employee is asking, but maybe something.

  36. Anonymous

    II’m sure we all know at least one person that had plans to leave and company didn’t want to loose the valuable employee so he was given a raise just to leave in a few short months. That proves the statement that many already made-it’s not all about the money. Employees will be more satisfied if they are challenged, if they have freedom to make decisions, if they are respected, engaged etc. Raise is not solution for every problem and in order to understand our employees and make them happier and more productive the communication is the key.

    • Kim McAfee

      “Employees will be more satisfied if they are challenged, if they have freedom to make decisions, if they are respected, engaged etc.”

      In addition to open communication, these variables are also key to maintaining a positive work environment with low turnover…you hit the nail on the head!

    • Good stuff! Looks like y’all’ve been reading Hackman & Oldham.

  37. Filip Cojbasic

    Giving raises to dissatisfied workers that a company would like to retain is not an optimal solution because this is likely only to postpone their leave. Employees who are dissatisfied are much more likely to be unhappy with something other than pay and merely giving them more money is not going to solve the problem. Also, when good employees are in question, it is very likely that they can find a job that is going to pay them as much. The solution here is to talk to the employee and find out a real reason for dissatisfaction and do everything to cure that, if possible.

    • I agree with this statement. If you haphazardly throw money at “the problem” (i.e. unsatisfied employee), then you haven’t even taken the time to figure out what is actually causing the dissatisfaction. For example, if their issue is that they would prefer a lightened load due to family obligations, etc. money isn’t going to solve this dilemma. Eventually they will become unhappy again (assuming the money itself helped even short-term) and make their exit, or become a cancer to your workplace, spreading their unhappiness with the newly added issue of feeling ignored. Additionally, if another worker who may be loyal, hardworking, etc etc but just has not gotten vocal or as obvious as employee one, finds out about the raise given to employee one only because they voiced their dissatisfaction, will feel snubbed or unappreciated. This scenario could cause the problem to become worse overall.

      • Samuel Abegaz

        I agree with you. We need more info about this employee before we agree or disagree with the given statement.

      • Ashley Purvis

        I agree with what you are saying about how managers need to learn what is causing job dissatisfaction in their workplaces, especially among valued employees. I think this highlights how tools like job satisfaction surveys can be used as an effective tool to minimize job satisfaction in the workplace. When managers learn what is causing the dissatisfaction they can implement a plan to minimize it rather than staying in the dark and trying to retain their employees with temporary solutions such as a pay raise.

    • Samuel Abegaz

      I partially disagree with your statement. What about if the reason for dissatisfaction is lower pay compared to his co-workers in the same department for similar duties and responsibilities?

  38. Angela Koenke

    Offering a raise to a dissatisfied employee will typically only offer short term gratification; in the long-run, the employee will eventually reach a dissatisfied state again because the root of the problem wasn’t fixed. Like you mentioned above, money is not the solution to all problems. An employee might not like the relationship with his coworker or boss which is making them dissatisfied, or they may not like the working environment or culture. I think the foundation for satisfied employees is communication, meaning an open-door policy with the supervisor and/or employee-team relationship building techniques. Open communication between the employee and supervisor can potentially lead to lower turnover and higher employee satisfaction and productivity… it’s a win-win!

  39. Jacob Keen

    There are so many other factors that influence job satisfaction other than money. In fact, money becomes almost irrelevant after about $40,000 annual income. The most basic way to learn about why an employee is dissatisfied is simply talk to them. I often wonder why people forget that this is an option. Managers sometimes think that they must perform some covert mission from James Bond in order to understand their employees. Sometimes good employees are not just unhappy at work because of a personality or emotional disconnect. At that point, it is the managers job to decide whether to analyze the problem further, or monitor productivity and if it becomes apparent that it is dropping, He or she may need to terminate.

    • Angela Koenke

      I agree! Doesn’t it seem as if the more money you make, the less satisfied you are in employment? Yes, a individual’s lifestyle may get better with more money, but it seems higher paid employees have more to gripe about… Dissatisfied employees typically demand more pay to make them happy, but the underlying problem won’t get fixed by receiving more money. Like you said, talking and evaluating the employee is key. The employee could be dissatisfied with their boss, coworkers, work-life balance, and/or benefits, and it is ultimately the manager’s responsibility to unveil the underlying root of the employee dissatisfaction.

    • Jacob, Great point about that, almost magical, $40,000 mark. If you consider what it minimally takes to keep a small family fed these days, $40,000 is just about enough to cover Maslow’s (and others’) lower-order needs. At that point, employees’ needs are more complex (and relational) than what additional pay can provide.

    • Joe Bacchus

      Agree with you Jacob. Have experienced some high level people with behavioral issues. How about acting out with other management in the room! Relationships are number one on my list. If a manager can not talk to or relate to others; there is a major problem

  40. Dorothy

    Working in the trenches together does have a way of creating loyal employees and friends. Well said!

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