I remember a time when money made me cringe. I would freelance so many projects for free, simply because I was too scared to ask if they'd pay me. That's hours and weeks and months of free work, all because I somehow couldn't muster the confidence to say, "What is the compensation for this project?"
As a result, I would secretly disappear after the project was done and never talk to them again as I searched for gigs that would pay.
Now, things have changed. Instead of viewing money as a scary untouchable, I see it as a way for companies to value my hard work and for employees to understand the value of their work. It shouldn't be a scary topic to touch--it should be absolutely necessary. In fact, if employers don't talk about it, they are more prone to lose their star talent to someone else.
Glassdoor's Survey on Marketing and HR Statistics for 2017 released several really interesting statistics on compensation trends, all of which led to the possibility that you'll lose your employees if you don't make salary a common topic of discussion. Here's how to broach the subject:
Be transparent about why they are receiving that salary.
Glassdoor's survey stated:
"49 percent of employed adults in the U.S. feel they must switch companies in order to obtain any meaningful compensation."
Losing employees never feels good, especially when it's a team member you really value. Unfortunately, the truth is that in order to feel alive, people need to feel growth, and many measure growth in how much money they make.
If they feel like their salary only increases nominally, they're going to step back out into the market and try to get their base salary to what your peak is.
Avoiding this is simple. Create transparency. Whether it's in the interview process or during a one-on-one meeting, ask them what their ideal salary growth rate is. Then, discuss if that's realistic in their role or at your company, and create a specific plan as to how to get there.
Jana Turner, Principal at RETS Associates - a commercial real estate recruiting company - reminds employers:
"It's important to first note that employees don't leave companies--they leave managers. Also, remember that incentives are becoming a great way to modify compensation, perhaps by providing a four-day work week, or some form of a better work/life balance."
Don't be afraid to discuss fair market compensation and how they rank.
The survey also discovered:
"69 percent of employed adults in the U.S. wish they had a better understanding of what fair market compensation is for their position at their company within their local job market."
Candidates and employees may only know how much they are supposed to be making based on online reviews and typing it into Google. Instead of making it all a guessing game, let them know how you ended up with the salary offer. It seems counterintuitive, but they'll appreciate the honesty, understand how much their talents are worth, and know exactly what they need to do down the line to receive an appropriate raise. Turner continues:
"An employer--especially a manager--must be very specific as to why an employee is not getting a raise. It's important to note that the approach should not be about counting hours, but rather about counting results."
If they disagree with their salary but still want to work with you, establish a roadmap so that you can establish your expectations while giving them a specific goal to work towards.
A final piece of data that Glassdoor shared:
"95 percent of employees reported that compensation/pay was important to their job satisfaction, but only 65 percent were satisfied with their compensation."
Whether it's due to companies being unable to afford a higher salary or candidates not asking for more, this number shouldn't be so low.
This all comes back to transparency. Create open conversation with your employee, establish each other's expectations, and do your best to meet on the same page. Turner shares one more bit:
"At the end of the day, the unemployment rate for top talent is close to 0 percent. When it comes to a company's A players, proactivity is a must. An employer cannot rely on employees to come to them with issues regarding compensation."
Don't be afraid to broach the subject of money with your employees. Reward them when it's time and talk to them about how you can see eye-to-eye when you're not seeing results--it can only lead to good.