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Can’t give a payrise? Offer something else

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Have you ever had to turn down a pay rise request? Putting aside the awkwardness of how it may feel, no doubt you sense that it can be a pivotal moment in your relationship with that employee.

For an employee, it can be immensely disappointing and taken personally as they may think their efforts aren’t being recognised. Not getting the pay increase they feel they deserve could lead to them becoming disengaged and disconnected - letting the rot set in that ultimately leads to them looking for another job.

This is backed up by new research. Which European workforce do you think is most likely to look for another role if they’re turned down for a payrise? Turns out it’s staff in the UK - almost a quarter (24%) compared to 11% in Germany and Belgium, 10% in the Netherlands and 5% in France.

When a payrise isn’t possible

Let’s face it: there are times when a payrise just isn’t an option. Perhaps there’s a salary ceiling that you feel that particular role has, which can’t move without a performance review of all your staff (or perhaps can’t be moved at all, full stop). Equally, a payrise might not be feasible depending on how your business is currently performing.

Of course, when it comes to turning down a request there’s a good way and a bad way to handle things. It’s important that you give it consideration - and your staff member is aware that this is the case - and are able to properly explain why it’s not possible. It also goes without saying that you should be offering a fair salary for that work to start with.

In order to boost your chances of not only keeping that staff member on your team - but as happy and engaged as possible - it’s worth seeing what else you might able to offer in the way of extra perks if you don’t already offer them.

Popular perks

One recent survey of almost 2,500 employees revealed the top two workplace perks as more time off (41% of respondents chose this) and money-saving benefits like gym membership (the most popular with 17% of those asked).

Other options might be:

  • More flexible hours. Bear in mind that all employees are now legally entitled to request flexible working after they’ve worked at your company for 26 weeks.
  • The chance to work remotely for a portion of the week.
  • Time off in lieu
  • Freelance or contract work opportunities
  • Travel and allowances
  • Additional maternity/paternity leave

Perhaps also discuss with your employee how they could move towards promotion to a higher level role with a higher salary. A clearly-outlined training and development plan showing career progression might be the key to keeping them motivated.

Keeping people on board

Of course, having the best people possible for your business means baking in attractive job terms back at the recruitment stage. Part of our work at HR GO is to help clients make their job offer stand out from an increasingly noisy crowd.

But it’s also worth knowing what you could do in case a pay rise is not appropriate right now. And looking at what perks you can offer is all part of the toolkit when it comes to a good talent retention strategy now and in the future.

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