My previous boss used to use the bucket model. He didn't use that term, of course. He would tell me he had been told he could give raises totaling, say, 3% so he was giving me, say, 4%, and somebody else 2% or whatever. I was never in on the difficult conversations. :lol: I used to wonder whether he actually told that part to the 2% person. I never heard through the grapevine what the overall total was.

So far since I have been manager, no raises have been forthcoming at this company. :cry: My boss explained to me that it's a temporary cash flow issue -- and it makes sense to me. Alas, though temporary, the issues will not be resolved overnight, and meanwhile it seems like individual contributors are just focused on "But I need a raise."

I don't wanna be snotty and say, "This ain't the gummint... you don't just get an automatic raise once a year no matter what."

I wonder, should I talk about what I know about the company's cash flow issues in the department meetings? Judiciously, of course!

jhack's picture

How can you possibly avoid the topic? These things are known via the rumor mill.

Key issue: What has senior management said? Are they telling everyone things are rosy, or are they being honest (albeit circumspect)? Have they told you to keep mum?

Their degree of forthrightness will affect yours.


rwwh's picture
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Contrasting the bucket model, David Maister has a very nice podcast called "You can not manage through pay schemes", it is number 14 in the series at

This podcast was sort of an eye opener to me: the main message I retained is that the option whether or not to offer a pay raise is for [i]lazy[/i] managers that are not capable of improving their people every year.

I would be interested in hearing other peoples opinions on this.

WillDuke's picture
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What does upper management want? If they want to keep it mum, mum's the word.

If you're upper management, then you get to decide. I would consider it an opportunity. "Hey guys, no cash flow this year. What can we do to improve that so we can get bonus / raises?" Brainstorming time. :)

People usually know anyway, it's probably just an elephant in the room.

terrih's picture

Either they know, or they wonder... and wondering is probably worse. People start wondering how BAD it really is.

I'm not upper management. I probably oughta have another chat with my boss, huh? :idea: :wink: