3 reasons bosses avoid ‘pay chats’ (and how benchmarks help)

29 Apr 24 | Blog

No-one actually enjoys talking about money, do they? Whether you’re the employee or their manager, sitting down to have a conversation about pay can be excruciating. And that’s often because both sides are missing a lot of key information…

That can mean people delay these chats. Maybe meetings get re-arranged, or excuses are made, or deadlines just keep getting shifted.

Here’s three reasons that happens, and how salary benchmarking can help:

1. You don’t know if salaries are competitive

Picture this: you’re face-to-face with a fairly confident employee who’s put forward a detailed proposal to why they deserve a pay rise. And all you’re thinking is “what are we paying them? Is it enough? Their ask sounds quite high…”.

That’s where it would be handy to have all the relevant information to hand. What is the benchmark for their role in this industry? And how does their pay compare?

Salary benchmarking lets managers see if their employees are being paid in line with the market rate – if not, then they can understand where the ask for a rise comes from. If they are, then maybe it’s time for a discussion about progression opportunities.

2. Giving out payrises isn’t actually your call

However well you get on with your team, it’s rare to have total autonomy over their pay. Bunging them an extra 10k is going to require sign-off from someone – and that’s going to involve some convincing.

Whether it’s the board or your senior team, they’ll want to see data that supports your ask i.e. the need to move towards market rate.

Salary benchmarking is a data-heavy process, one that’s usually slow, arduous, and involves an unsightly amount of spreadsheets. But having that salary benchmark data and related cost analysis allows managers to make a case to decision-makers, so they can give raises.

3. It’s unclear if staff see pay as a dealbreaker

You don’t want to get stuck into a salary conversation without understanding what’s at stake. If an employee’s ask is turned down, will they become a flight risk? Is your pay progression too slow, or too low, so any “not now” feels like a “not ever”?
You need to understand if your organisation’s salaries are driving other metrics, like attrition or absence rate, because then you can tell if there’s a wider problem to tackle.

Salary benchmarking, combined with other HR data analytics, can help you learn whether to prioritise that pay chat – if a rise in attrition and absence rates could be related to below-industry salaries, then it’s clear that it’s important to your employees to get it right.

    Salary benchmarking paltform


    How Qlearsite Pro can help:

    • Dynamic salary benchmarking: global pay data, from over 1 million different organisations – industry-specific and automatically mapped to your job titles
    • Automatic cost analysis of metrics: see the cost of replacing staff, what you spend on different team’s salaries, and how much sick days are costing you
    • Attrition, absence & gender ratio: benchmarks, tracking, and analysis of attrition, absence, and gender ratio – so you have all the relevant information
    • Trends & drivers auto-identified: understand how metrics are trending over time, and see auto-insights about the specific groups driving KPIs like attrition rate
    • Alerts about risk areas in your team: get notified if your attrition rate is trending up, for example, or if another challenge is going to threaten your team…
    Salary cost view

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