How would you resolve a pay issue brought about by replacing a direct?

We were paying below market salaries causing a low performer to leave. The advert for their position was found by a direct bringing some unrest in our department.

The position is lower than this directs and he is now upset that as we are now going to be paying a market salary the replacement will now be on more than he is.

He is a top performer who I wouldn’t want to loose. Should I try to get him a pay rise to keep him, knowing that if I do one direct I will have to do the whole department or leave it until New Year and risk loosing him?

Archer's picture

Hi Carlin.

I saw your other post regarding your boss v's HR situation. It seems that you are going to have some hard discussions with your HR Dept. If they are willing to act in this manner regarding your boss, be under no illusion, if the tide turns you could be in for more of the same unless this is addressed.

I don't know that I understand you when you say that if you give this direct an increase you'll have to do it for the whole dept. Budgets are being squeezed across the board these days and I would suggest that you firstly rate each of your directs (salary increases need to be channelled towards your top performers as a priority if their salaries are below market average - these are the ones that will help you weather any staffing issue storms and shall also enable training of any new hires whilst still keeping you free enough to manage the dept effectively. The last thing you want to happen is to lose one of these high value guys (who if they're that good will have no problem moving jobs) whilst at the same time holding onto the lower performers - who may not be good / experienced enough to train in any new hires or support you sufficiently. There is only so much money going around so use it to reward the better performance / behaviours - this is after all what this guy wants (and I think he's right!).

Also worth mentioning that whilst money is always a consideration, it rarely is an effective tool for staff retention when used by itself (and is usually in short supply). There are many other ways encourage staff retention (trust, training, support etc). - Are you confident that money is the only reason that you think this top performer might leave ? - Its just that it seems theres a problem between your boss and HR and I wonder if this is being felt further down the line ?

TomW's picture

I'm a little confused here:
You were paying low rates to get one person to leave? Or do you mean that you were paying low rates, and as a result, one low performer left?

Either way, the problem now is that there is a new job posting out there, the current lower-paid people are upset that someone lower than them on the totem pole is being paid more.

Am I right so far? (You may want to re-read your posts before they go up. They are not very clear).

Assuming I've got the right situation, why do you have to give all of them raises if you give a raise to one? If you decide to give one top performer a raise:
(1) that's between you and that one person. It's no one else's business.
(2) if the rest want raises, they need to work harder for them.

If you are paying below-market rates, you will have a hard time keeping people anyway, unless you offer something else that they want. Some people will be more willing to take less money and flex time, tuition reimbursement, or better health insurance. You have to know them and their needs pretty well to determine that. (Are you doing one-on-ones yet?)

Carlin's picture


Thank you for you replies and sorry for the late reply.

I have managed to resolve a lot of my earlier problems through talking to the HR Director and FD and organising a reshuffle of the department.

I am still very uncertain about the HR director as he seems to be a it of a snake buy trying to get me to undermine my under performing manager thus keeping his hands clean.

From what I can gather it is only my manager that he seems to have this issue with but this is something I will just have to keep an eye out as it could easily be my turn next.

I have created some metrics and I have linked the performance of these to a bonus scheme (separate to the usual company one). These will be measured monthly and depending on how well he has done the bonus is paid to him that month.

The re shuffle has also managed to keep the HR Director happy as a lot of the team now report to me. My manager seems to be ok with this as a lot of the work that she struggled with has now been transferred to me and she is now able to concentrate on other key areas.

Not an ideal way of running a department but so far everyone involved seems to be happy with the results.

HMac's picture

Carlin - sounds like the reshuffle gives you a bit more control over your own destiny, and a real opportunity to show yourself as a manager. Lots of hard work ahead, but good for you!

One side note regarding a comment on your last post:

[quote="Carlin"]I am still very uncertain about the HR director as he seems to be a it of a snake buy trying to get me to undermine my under performing manager thus keeping his hands clean.[/quote]

As a reader who doesn't know you or your situation at all, this appears to me to be a bit, uhh, paranoid? Certainly emotion-filled.

I realize this is just a posting, and it's an anonymous forum, so you're likely presenting things here a bit rawer than when you're at your company. So I'm not saying this emotion is coming through in your behaviors.

But it might be.

And if so, you'd be undermining yourself in the company just when you have an opportunity to shine.

Good luck!


jhack's picture

Some related ideas were discussed in this thread:


HMac's picture

And some related thoughts in this other thread:


Carlin's picture

Hi HMac/ jhack,

Thanks for the replies. I do feel a lot better with the work situation now.

I had originaly posted a different thread where I explained a bit about my experiances with the HR Director.

Now that I have been at the comapny I get the feeling that it is only my manager that he has singled out for this sort of treatment.

TomW's picture

[quote="Carlin"]Now that I have been at the comapny I get the feeling that it is only my manager that he has singled out for this sort of treatment.[/quote] far.

If the HR director can treat one person that way, then he can treat other people that way.

If I were in your position, I'd watch my back. You never know when the tides could turn so that you're next.

Carlin's picture

:-) Too true Tom.

My record keeping is now improving so I can cover my a** and putting my order for a kevlar jacket on hold for the moment :-)