« Finding Meaning at Work (and Why Compensation Doesn't Help) | Main | The Golden Ratio of Performance Feedback »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I would add one more level that is sorely missing in most companies, Learning Listening. This means approach a discussion as a conversation with a mindset that the employee may tell you something that you do not know and that you can probably use.

Hi Jim!

Learning listening is already my Level 3 above, but your point is an outstanding one in explaining what this kind of listening actually means!

Thanks for the comment!

This posting is so timely because yesterday afternoon I had a conversation with a manager regarding a group of techs who were (again) complaining about pay being capped. It seems as though every time a new manager joins the group, the issue bubbles up. I started to go down the path of explaining our market driven pay philosophy, which I was ready to espouse before the first sentence came out of her mouth and then stopped myself. Instead, I said "you know, I am a comp professional and so I live and breathe the reality of market based pay where every single job has a minimum and maximum value assigned to it. However, let's take some time to understand the real issues and see where there is common ground and if there is any room to satisfy the groups needs and wants, without abandoning our structure and philosophy." I don't know what made me say that yesterday as that is a brand new approach for me, but your post really reinforces that, in that moment, that was the right thing to do.


Thanks for sharing your story - you've set a good example for all of us!

Correction to above, I meant to say: I would add one more level that is sorely missing in most companies, this puts Learning Listening in a different perspective. It is Proactive Listening. This means approaching a discussion as a conversation at the from end of pay program development. By coming in with a mindset that the employee can tell you something that you do not know and that you can probably use, you can increase the perceived value of the program when it is finally delivered.

Great post, Ann.

Another key reason for taking the option three approach:

If managers feel that you have a rigid compensation philosophy and aren't ever willing to have a discussion around top performers pay, then they start coming up with ways to circumvent your system.

Many managers are very smart - and if they can't give an employee a raise within the existing structure then they will do things like wordsmith job descriptions, exaggerate job duties and responsibilities and give empty title promotions to get the employee into a higher pay grade.

As such, it's much better to really listen to a manager and understand the challenge if he/she comes to you with a concern around reaching the top of the range. Otherwise you become an enforcer rather than a consultant.

As always, thanks for sharing - and keep writing.




Great point - level 3 listening is more likely to lead to a sense of partnership between you and managers, rather than a sense of you being the enforcer ... either oblivious to or uncaring about their needs. Forcing them to find their own way.

Thanks for the comment and insights!

Quite on point, Ann. Those wanting a longer article on such resolution communications should read "Active Listening" by Carl Rogers, easily found on the Internet.

The comments to this entry are closed.