Talking about money with your employees can be uncomfortable. Even when you have good news for an employee, discussing pay can be difficult. Your employee’s performance is inextricably linked to their salary and bonus. However, if you are discussing the two together, this can lead to your employee focusing only on the conversation about pay. As such, as a manager, you should discuss performance in a separate meeting, prior to any discussion about pay or bonuses. That way, you ensure that both conversations are clearly heard by your employee, and expectations can be managed, prior to any conversation about compensation.
A salary and bonus conversation can get tough, because, often because your employee is not getting the information they need or you, as a manager, feel that they can’t answer certain questions. You need to have key information to hand such as pay scales for the various roles across your business, details regarding potential for pay increases or promotions and any other key information, such as company performance, and how this has affected their salary and bonus figures this year etc.
If your salary and bonus conversation is not going well, you should spend more time listening to your employee, in order to understand where they are coming from, what their concerns are etc. There is often a lot to be gained by managers who are curious, when it comes to having tough pay-related conversations. For example, you might learn that your employee feels that their job has not been correctly benchmarked against competitors or the wider market.
More often than not, a challenging conversation around salary and bonus will require for you to organise a follow up meeting, giving you an opportunity to come back with more facts, and secure a positive outcome with your employee.