The Art of Saying No to a Pay Raise Request

Many managers, human resource representatives and employers could use some guidance on how to say “no” gently to employee requests for pay raises. No business leader wants to burn bridges with excellent, hard-working employees. The key is a process that presents you as empathetic to your employees’ needs while also firm in your own stance. Here’s some advice on how to deliver the unwelcome news.

Saying No To A Pay Raise Request

Most people don’t find it easy to say “no” to others outside the workplace let alone inside it. Even if you’re dealing with someone you don’t know well personally, the pressure to say “yes” can be overwhelming. Sometimes this response comes from an eagerness to please people or the fear of a negative reaction.
Here’s an outline of this strategy. You can read the full article here.

Give your employee a chance to state their case (they might have a point)

Before making a decision about the raise, it’s good to know why the employee thinks he deserves one. Does he believe he’s underpaid relative to the market? Has she taken on new responsibilities? Has she accomplished something worthy of a bump in pay?

Take time to consider the request (or at least look like you are)

Making an immediate denial for a pay raise will likely come across as hostile and even insulting. Take some time to consider their request, even if you know the answer is ‘no’ right away. Conversely, don’t take too much time and make them feel like you’re stringing them along.

Give them more than just a ‘no’

Simply saying ‘no’ to a pay increase isn’t enough. In order to avoid hostility you need to explain why the answer is no, in addition to affirming the value of employee requesting it.

Be straighforward (take the mystery out of it)

What would it take for your employee to get a raise? Let them know what they would have to do to merit one, along with a realistic time frame. Making the criteria for a pay increase a mystery or moving target is likely to result in poor performance. If an employee believes nothing they do makes a difference, their job engagement will likely suffer.

Offer support and assistance

As a good leader, you can be supportive at this difficult time and offer your appreciation and support. As a great one you can use this as an opportunity to offer some inspired career advice to guide employees to a renewed sense of purpose and vigour.
Many business leaders have learned the hard way that a sudden, harsh refusal to this type of request can cause employees to express animosity every day after or quit their jobs entirely. You can say “No” and keep an employee happy. You can also apply these lessons to other scenarios, including bonus requests.
To find out more, read “How to say ‘no’ when an employee asks for more pay” today!