Pay Increase Discussions

How to Navigate Pay Increase Discussions: A Guide for Executives and Managers

Compensation discussions, while integral to organisational health, can be tricky terrains to navigate.

Both employees and leadership need to approach the subject with a blend of preparation, tact, and strategy.

Drawing on insights from the  podcast “How to Ask for a Pay Rise” and coupled with best practices from the world of management, we craft a roadmap for effective compensation conversations.

1. The Power of Research

Both the podcast and industry experts echo the same sentiment: information is power. Before diving into these talks, familiarise yourself with the industry benchmarks. Encourage employees to use online salary tools or industry surveys to substantiate their requests.

Being equipped with data paints a clear picture of market value, ensuring a more grounded and constructive conversation.

2. Setting the Stage

Much of the success of these conversations hinges on timing. The podcast stresses the importance of choosing a moment when superiors are more likely to be receptive. As leaders, ensure you’re also giving these discussions their due importance.

Designate times post-project completion or during designated review sessions to set a positive tone.

3. Confidence Meets Negotiation

An employee who exudes confidence in their worth is not just seeking validation but is also showcasing their commitment and value to the organisation. As leaders, acknowledge this confidence. Simultaneously, both sides should come to the table expecting negotiation.

As the podcast rightly points out, it’s often about finding a middle ground that aligns with the company’s resources and the employee’s expectations.

4. Professionalism at Its Peak

Any discussion about pay requires a delicate balance of assertion and respect. The podcast emphasises the need to maintain professionalism, an aspect that leadership should also exemplify.

This means being transparent about the company’s position, acknowledging the employee’s concerns, and offering clear feedback.

5. Handling All Outcomes

It’s essential to anticipate the spectrum of possible outcomes in pay discussions. As suggested in the podcast, there’s a possibility of rejection. If this is the case, be prepared to provide your reasons comprehensively and constructively.

Ensure employees understand that such decisions, though difficult, are sometimes necessary due to various organisational constraints.

6. Forward-Thinking Solutions

In instances where an immediate pay increase isn’t feasible, adopt a future-oriented perspective. Outline clear performance goals or milestones that can potentially lead to a future pay rise.

This offers employees a tangible path and reassures them of growth opportunities within the organisation.

7. Knowing When to Pivot

A salient point from the podcast is the possibility of parting ways if compensation expectations aren’t met. While such decisions are tough, they sometimes become necessary.

As leadership, this should prompt reflection on organisational compensation structures and industry alignment.


Discussing pay increases is an art that combines data-driven insights, interpersonal skills, and strategic thinking. By fostering an environment of openness, preparation, and mutual respect, these conversations can evolve from being potential stressors to constructive dialogues that fortify the organisational fabric.

Empower your employees to approach the subject with the right tools and mindset, and reciprocate with empathy and clarity. The result is a workplace where value is not just recognised but also aptly rewarded.

If you want to learn how to approach pay rises fro yourself, then listen to this solid podcast

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