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What to do when an employee asks for a pay rise

It’s inevitable – as an employer or manager, at one time or another, an employee will ask for a pay rise. In fact, according to payscale.com, 37% of workers have asked for a wage increase from their current employer.

Perhaps the time is right as you’ve just been reviewing salaries. Or maybe, it’s completely caught you off guard and you’re not quite sure how to respond. This request is quite a common one but some business owners struggle with how to deal with it. So with this in mind, Consult HR’s Julie Pollock shares her top tips on what you should do in this situation.

The most important top tip we could possibly give you is not to react and regret it. When an employee asks for a pay rise – whether you saw it coming or it’s out of the blue – it’s important not to respond just yet! Acknowledge their request and give a commitment that you will think about it and get back to them soon. After this, take the following points into consideration to help you reach a decision…

Learn their reasons why

Usually, when an employee approaches an employer for pay rise, they are unhappy with their employment so the key is to determine why so that you can effectively manage the situation and come to the best possible outcome.

Common reasons that employees ask for a pay rise is that they are struggling financially, they feel undervalued, they don’t feel their salary is competitive or they think that other staff members are being paid more. Each of these situations requires a different response so nailing down the reasons why an employee wants a pay rise is important.

Consider your options

Perhaps the request is a good time to review what you currently pay everyone. Use the prompt to carry out job evaluations and research what similar local companies are paying staff. Carrying out a full review will give you the chance to put salary bands in place, create a fair system and prevent gender gap issues. Having a system in place will ensure that employees know what is expected of them and how they can progress within the company.

Is it an option for the employee in question to take on more responsibilities, which would justify the raise? Or, in the situation where the salary is actually competitive, are they an asset to your business that you don’t want to lose? If so, highlighting their value by giving a pay rise might be warranted. Finally, in the delicate situation where an employee asks for a rise when they are struggling financially, but it isn’t justified, consider how as an employer you can support them in other ways.

Examine pay rise alternatives

A common reason that may businesses can’t offer a pay rise, is quite simply, that they can’t afford it. If you find yourself in this situation and you want to show a deserving employee that they are valued, there are a wealth of options available, like vouchers, time off or the opportunity for training. In fact, in this blog post, we have rounded up a wealth of ways to reward staff without giving them a raise.

Communicate clearly

When a full review has been completed and you have reached your decision, it’s time to deliver the news. This should be done so in a formal manner and communicated as clearly as possible, stating the reasons you have reached the conclusion. It’s also important to show compassion in the situation where the answer is no.

If you have a staffing problem you would like a solution to, contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or email: julie@consulthr.co.uk to discuss further.

Top tips for managing employees’ mental health

With this month being Mental Health Awareness Month, and in fact, 13th – 19th May serving as Mental Health Awareness Week, now is the time to talk about mental health in the workplace.

With one in four people experiencing a mental health problem each year in the UK, it’s highly likely that we all know someone affected by depression, anxiety or stress. And so of course it affects us at work – in fact poor mental health costs the UK economy up to £99 billion each year.

Employers are affected by working days lost due to absence, have experienced staff leaving their employment and staff not performing in their jobs.

Therefore, as an employer, taking steps to manage employees’ mental health in the workplace has never been more important.

Each new case of stress leads to an average of 29 days off work…can your company afford this?

So with this in mind, here we share 6 top HR tips for effectively managing mental health at work.

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1. Ask the difficult questions

It is not unusual for business owners and managers to fear talking to staff about their health. They don’t know what questions they can ask and they are frightened of overstepping the boundaries of asking the wrong questions. But in reality, if you don’t ask the questions then you don’t know how to help. There’s no denying that mental health isn’t the easiest topic to talk about, especially at work. Employees may worry that sharing details of their mental health may lead to them being treated differently. However in society, in recent years, there has been a shift in attitudes towards mental health.

Conducting return to work interviews will provide you with the opportunity to discuss the employee’s absence, identify early signs and put supporting measures in place to help the employee.

2. Don’t be the ostrich – Early intervention is key

44% of people who suffer from stress have cited that the cause is heavy workload. In such situations if the matter is not addressed, a fitness to work certificate citing ‘Stress At Work’ is highly likely to land on your desk.

Ignoring this only leads to the situation getting worse and could result in:

  • The employee’s absence being long term, which was avoidable
  • Working relationships break down
  • The employee submits a grievance
  • The employee’s health deteriorating
  • You lose very experienced, reliable staff
  • Claims are taken against the company for their treatment

Have open communication with your staff, listen to any issues they raise and seek a resolution early.

If the employee does go off due to stress at work, ask them to explain what the cause of the stress is and work through a solution to enable the employee to return to work as quickly as possible.

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3. Remove prejudice

It’s essential that if an employee shares details of their mental health, that they are still given the same opportunities as other staff members. It’s easy to unconsciously make a decision such as giving a candidate a new project because another employee’s work life is stressful. It is good practice to have conversations with employees who have cited mental health problems and discuss how their work can be managed in order to help alleviate this.

4. Awareness sessions

Educating staff on how to build their mental health resilience is an excellent way to reduce mental health absences and improve the overall wellbeing of staff.

One way to do this is by holding an awareness week or awareness sessions at regular intervals throughout the year, inviting speakers in to share their experiences or offer education sessions. Opening up the channels for communication is the perfect place to start.

From this, staff can identify the signs of depression, stress and anxiety at an early stage and implement some of the tips and recommendations from the sessions to prevent their health deteriorating.

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5. Stress is not always created in the workplace

We all lead very busy lives and commonly employees’ mental health suffers as a result of something that is happening outside of work, in their personal lives such as:

  • Marriage break-up
  • The loss of a close friend or family member
  • Financial worries
  • Caring responsibilities

Even though this has resulted from external factors, this can still impact on the individual at work.  So remember to acknowledge that they are working through a difficult time in their life and offer support where you can.

6. Encourage a stress-less environment

Doing what you can to promote a stress-less work environment will work wonders. Start by instilling a good work-life balance, in which long hours and out of office emails are not a part of your company’s culture. Remember, employees who are less stressed are more productive. Appreciating employees and advocating empowerment go a long way in promoting a happy team.

This is a growing area that employers are struggling with. If you need help with an employment issue that involves mental health, get in touch today. Contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or email julie@consulthr.co.uk to discuss further.