Periodically, we ask three HR pros how they’d handle a difficult situation at work. Today’s problem: An HR manager finds out one of his firm’s best supervisors may be jumping ship soon.
HR manager Stu Capper had really done it this time: He’d just dropped a greasy chicken finger on his new tie.
Stu sighed in frustration, left his office and headed toward the nearest bathroom, muttering to himself all the way.
But he stopped as he walked past the break room when something he heard caught his attention.
“Yeah, they offered me that much money,” said the voice in a hushed whisper. “I think that’s much closer to what I deserve than what I get here.”
‘Do you think you’re going to take it?’
Stu recognized the voice of Julianna Ryan, one of the best managers at the company.
There had been a bit of a debate recently between Julianna and upper management about a potential pay raise, but the company simply didn’t have the money to pay her more.
“Do you think you’re going to take it?” asked another voice.
“I’m really thinking about it,” said Julianna. “You know how hard I work here, and I just don’t think I’m getting paid what I’m worth.”
Should HR step in?
“Well, let me know if you want to talk about it again,” said the other voice.
Stu immediately jumped back into stride and headed into the bathroom to take care of his tie – and think over what, if anything, should be done about Julianna.
If you were Stu, what would you say or do next?
What your peers had to say
An HR manager from Texas
What she would do: I’d ask Julianna’s manager to get involved, either by going to upper management to see if there’s any extra money in the budget or speaking with her about what it’d take to get her to stay.
Reason: If I didn’t do anything, I wouldn’t be advising anyone of the top talent that might be about to walk out the door.
But if I went to Julianna right away, it might look like we were snooping on her or that someone was gossiping about her.
That’s why it’s best to have Julianna’s manager step in.
A director of HR from New York
What she would do: I’d go to the powers that be and see if we could revisit the pay raise discussion for Julianna.
Then I’d speak to Julianna, saying, “I understand you’re unhappy with your pay, but you know how much we value you here. I spoke with upper management, and we’re hoping things open up in a little while.
“Is there anything else we can do until the purse strings open up to get you to stay?”
Reason: First things first: Federal law states that Julianna can discuss her salary with her colleagues in the workplace, so there’s no need to ask her to stop that.
What this really comes down to is that we don’t want to lose Julianna, if she’s as good a manager as everyone says she is. That might mean that we have to take some drastic steps.
An HR manager in Arizona
What Michelle would do: I’d speak to Julianna one-on-one as soon as possible.
Even though we can’t give her a raise, we can tell her what she means to the company and that she has a bright future with us.
Reason: It’s best for us to get ahead of this situation. It sounds like Julianna hasn’t made up her mind yet, so it’s on us to see what we can do to get her to stick around.