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5 Ways to Manage Employee Salary Expectations with Ease

Posted On04/08/2019

ContributorKaila Prins

The employer-employee relationship has come a long way. Organizations need top talent to innovate at the increasing pace needed to compete in the modern era, and engaged employees are eager to deliver for the companies that treat them best. Now more than ever, the power balance has shifted toward recognition of this mutually beneficial dynamic. While pay isn’t the only deciding factor, it’s certainly an important consideration—and the pressure is on for organizations to manage employee expectations gracefully.

Embrace Transparency

Transparency has always been a key part of how the top global employers manage salary expectations, but in the age of online ratings and reviews, companies must be willing to discuss their pay strategy with a sense of openness. A workforce that understands its employers’ approach to incorporating market rates, prevailing practices, cost of living, and professional experience into salary considerations is more likely to feel confident they’re being compensated fairly.

Negotiate with Benefits

Salary is just one aspect of compensation. Negotiating with additional benefits can help organizations get top talent in the door while both keeping payroll in check and satisfying employee expectations. Does your company offer a revenue sharing arrangement or vested stock options? Highlighting these perks can help current and prospective employees see a more holistic picture of the value they gain through employment with your organization.

Use Your Resources

The free flow of information on the web has made conversations about the workplace more honest and open. Prospective employees relish the chance for an inside look at companies, while others use these platforms to compare their respective ongoing employment experiences. But employees aren’t the only ones who can benefit. Use workplace social media sites likes Glassdoor, Indeed, and to understand the current landscape and see what employees have to say about your organization’s pay and workplace experience.

Be Flexible

What’s important to one employee may be of little consequence to another. Try to understand specific drivers for individuals to best navigate salary and compensation conversations. For some employees, the prospect of commission is hugely motivating, while, for others, a flexible working arrangement is more enticing. The key is to explore other drivers for staff and make these options available.

Talk About Money

In the past, employers held all the power when it came to compensation discussions and decisions. That’s not the case anymore. With a lean labor market and the visibility enabled by online reviews, salary and benefits discussions have become more mutualistic. One of the best ways to manage employee salary expectations? Talk about them—and not only during the increasingly obsolete annual review, but on a regular basis. Encourage an open dialogue about what’s working and what’s not regarding pay and perks and use 1:1s as an opportunity to check-in with employees.

Managing salary expectations can be challenging, awkward, and uncomfortable but it doesn’t have to be. Be it with top tier candidates for open positions or existing employees, it’s important to make sure individuals feel that they are valued and respected and that their organization is invested in them.