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The Problem with  “The Compensation Mystery” | No BS Management Advice

The Problem with “The Compensation Mystery” | No BS Management Advice

What goes into that salary offer or that raise? How are the numbers decided upon and why is it kept a mystery? In this video, I explore the problem with how you are doing things.


There's a mystery around compensation at organizations. Have you ever noticed that no one discusses salary? And it's a "learned quality" at organizations. After all, when you're . . . I've got a son who's about to be 18 as I record this and he and his friends talk about how much they're earning, how much people are paid at different jobs, so they're sharing that information with one another and even in the workplace, people know how much they're making.
He's 18. Somewhere between 18 and being an adult, the message gets communicated, you don't talk about money. And I think part of that really stems as a cultural thing from organizations who don't want to know how that decision was made to hire someone at a certain level.
"So we're making you an offer. its for Y number of dollars."
"Terrific. How'd you come up with that number?"
"Well, we compared your experience with those internally and found that you weren't quite worth to us as much as those folks are making."
"Now, in what way was I less than them?"
No one ever asks that question. No organization is ever challenged on their decision making for how much to make that offer. And, once someone's on board, you know, there's the question of "Okay, time to get a promotion. Time to get a raise, what goes into the decision making?"
Well, we all know that the reality is that once someone's on board, there are formulas with percentage increases based upon grade and the basis for that is never communicated. That's a message that comes down from "up high." The money is divided up. Percentage increases are passed on with no real assessment of actual value.
How does someone wind up making more money? They exist within the organization. They cause no problems. Advancement opportunity? You know, again, much the same kind of thing. Organizations are not transparent with what they do and people wonder, HR professionals wonder, why there's an issue with employee engagement. That people are dealing with a moving target for how much they're going to be paid from the time that they're interviewing until the time they say, "you know, I think I'm going to take this offer."

"What! You can't do that! What's going to take to keep you?" Suddenly there's transparency,
Here's what you can do differently. Think in terms of you're a manager, you're an HR professional, and you want to create a culture of trust. Talk about the qualities that you look for at each level of the organization-- what someone needs to know. When it comes to review time, you start being have your managers and leaders be very clear about what someone needs to do, how they need to be in order to accomplish the next milestone.
What went into that salary offer? How are they different than the people on board, except the people on board are known to the organization. Lots of different things around transparency come into play that you guys aren't being transparent about. Want to create a culture where people are engaged? Start being a little bit more open.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked in recruiting for what seems like one hundred years. He is the head coach for He is the

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

host of “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast,” “No BS Job Search Advice,” and “Job Search Radio.”

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