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When an Employee Won't Stop Asking for a Raise

When an Employee Won't Stop Asking for a Raise

Alison Green | Ask A Manager

November 09, 2010

A reader writes:

I have an employee who has been with us since 2008 in our small municipality (read: no money) who is constantly dissatisfied with his salary. He has gone to his manager (who is now on maternity leave), his acting manager, and the manager of HR (behind his manager’s back) several times about a raise. I’m the HR assistant and now current acting HR manager.

We’re at the point now where his manager has gone above and beyond, and worked with our employee to explain some options for him – setting goals, learning new skills related to an Engineering Coordinator role (which we do not have staffed right now because of budget cuts), and upon the successful completion of these goals, a step increase within his range.

The employee however, is constantly compiling job ads from other private and public organizations, and requesting/demanding that his job be in a higher pay grid.

Trying to explain “total compensation” hasn’t worked – he just sees that other organizations are paying more than we are, and since we’re a small municipality, there isn’t any room to all of a sudden get a new pay range passed through our Council just because he thinks he’s underpaid.

The last straw was an email on Friday, where he emailed me asking for his job description, and that of the (vacant) Engineering Coordinator, and that “his job description needed to be revised to include some of the Engineering duties” – without any discussion or consent from his manager, and his role/experience does not have any of the requirements to be an Engineering Coordinator.

What do we do? I’m by myself in HR, all of his managers have had it with him, and I’ve said to him off the cuff that since he knows for sure that there will be no new salary range for his position, then he is more than welcome to go to another job which will pay him what he thinks he deserves.

His current manager has even offered to look into supporting the employee going back to school to get an Engineering designation, if he wants to become an Engineer, but his attitude is that he’s already doing the job, so why isn’t he getting paid for it?

He doesn’t get it, he wants to stay, but he’s causing stress and strife among his department, and is frankly, a pain in my ass. Do you have any advice on how to handle this?

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