I recently learned through the grapevine that these raises were given out two months ago. Another employee and I apparently were the only ones excluded.
Q: A couple of years ago, after our small construction company was hit hard by the recession, all employees received a 5 percent pay cut. Last year, the owners told us that if a couple of big projects came through, our pay would be restored in 2012.
I recently learned through the grapevine that these raises were given out two months ago. Another employee and I apparently were the only ones excluded. This seems highly unfair, because last year the two of us closed the biggest deal in company history. However, we don’t suck up to the owners like everyone else.
I would like to address this issue, but I don’t want to make the situation worse. What do you suggest?
A: Although you and your colleague would undoubtedly love to chastise the owners for their surreptitious salary increases, the safest approach is to simply ask a factual question in a non-confrontational manner.
For example: “We recently heard that many people had their 5 percent pay cut restored some time ago. If this is true, we’re interested in finding out when our salaries might return to the previous level. Do you know when this is likely to happen?” Then stop talking and wait for the answer.
As long as you deliver this communication in a calm, businesslike tone, your bosses should not take offense. Just be sure to qualify your statement by saying “if this is true,” because grapevine information is frequently inaccurate or incomplete.
For the sake of your career, however, you should also consider why the owners may have chosen to withhold your raise. One clue may be found in the assertion that you do not “suck up” like “everyone else.” If this means that you have a tendency to be argumentative or oppositional, then management may be trying to send you a message.
Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach. Send in questions at www.yourofficecoach.com.