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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

Someone — ideally his manager — needs to sit down with him and say, “Bob, I’ve made it clear to you what your options are for getting a salary increase. Those are the only options. If you complete them successfully, we will consider a salary increase. We will not consider one otherwise. I need you to hear me on this, because you have continued to raise this despite clear answers, and it’s become a distraction from our work. This is what we are willing to pay you. It is your prerogative to choose not to accept that salary and to look elsewhere, but we will not be having this conversation over and over anymore. If you decide this salary isn’t acceptable, let me know and we’ll talk about your transition out of the role.”

You say that you’ve said this to him off the cuff. Someone needs to say it more formally, with explicit direction that it can’t continue.

I want to be clear, of course, that I’m not saying that employees asking about salary should be routinely shut down. The issue here is not that the guy has pushed for a higher salary — it’s that he’s been given an answer, repeatedly, and is just refusing to accept it. His manager needs to spell it out for him that the answer is not going to change. And you all need to get clear on the fact that just because someone refuses to accept your answer the first five times you give it, you don’t need to keep having the conversation over and over; there’s a point after which you can say, “No more. We’ve already discussed this, and you’ve been given a clear and honest answer.”

As a side note, I’m assuming that in general your salary structure is working for you, and that you’re not having trouble attracting and retaining good people. If that’s not the case, it’s worth looking at your salary structure as a whole, and seeing if it needs to be updated. But even if that’s the case, this guy has still handled this poorly. Speaking of which…

As a second side note, the way he has handled this situation (particularly the part about directing you to change his job description when he hadn’t even talked to his manager about it) makes me think that there’s no way this kind of bad judgment isn’t present in other aspects of his work too. I’d be curious what his manager’s take is on that.

Next: 10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary >>