In today’s environment, employees tend to feel as they are working WAY harder than they have in years past. They are taking on additional responsibilities and feel under compensated. For companies in the position to use raises to reward and retain employees, the common question is often, “When is the right time to offer an employee a raise?” Ultimately it’s your job as a business owner or manager to identify the right time to initiate that dialogue. Small businesses can’t afford to just give away money, so we’re presenting the following scenarios and times that indicate a raise could add to your bottom line when other employee retention ideas just wont cut it.

Three Scenarios to Consider Before Offering a Raise:

  1. Longevity and Loyalty

Employees with proven commitment and long-term loyalty are great candidates for a raise. They help your small business grow because they have continued positive attitudes and focus driving business in the door and not out of it. Before making your decision, have a discussion with the employee about their long-term goals within your company. Don’t wait until it’s too late (a resignation letter) before evaluating important team members that have demonstrated their value.

  1. Innovative Employees

Do you have an employee that routinely steps outside the box to help make the workplace more productive? Is there a member of your team that spearheads new ideas and concepts on their own without shying away from the additional responsibilities involved? This type of employee is self-motivated, driven, and confident. Reward the mindset of goal orientation. Innovation is something that continually drives companies to develop better products, bring in great ideas and help ride the waves of an up and down market. Set an example that being motivated and results-driven is rewarded in your small business.

  1. Employees’ Consistent Results

Does your organization have that one sales person that consistently blows their quotas out of the water? Is there an employee that is always on top of their metrics? Maybe you’ve consistently received high praise about a specific employee from customers. Pay attention to specific feedback and achievement of goals among team members over time to identify employees that aren’t just a flash in the pan, helping to ensure you’ll get a great return on the money spent on a raise. Sales people are particularly performance and money motivated, so monitoring progress towards goals allows you to define additional compensation-related incentives.

Three Key Opportunities to Offer a Raise:

  1. Employees’ Annual Review

Raises mean more when they are awarded less frequently, but often enough that they might be on employees’ minds. An employee’s annual review is a perfect (albeit conventional) time to discuss compensation and consider a raise. It’s when you both reflect on the past years’ work and the value the employee has had on your company. When a positive employee review illustrates proven results, successfully handling additional responsibilities, and team-oriented thinking, a raise is one way to reward and foster that type of work ethic. A raise tied to a performance review can also help motivate your employee with an increased sense of their value and improve their job satisfaction.

  1. Hiring Additional Employees

If you’re accomplishing the goals you’ve set for yourself, hopefully, your small business is growing. As such, you’re going to need more staff. While you might be juggling budgets to find the funds to expand the headcount, don’t forget about the folks who have been holding down the fort while responsibilities continued to increase. These employees have been carrying extra weight, probably working beyond their original job duties, and are responsible for putting your company in a position to grow the team. Before hiring that next employee, consider giving these key performers a raise because you will be relying on them to train and help new staff learn the ropes. Offering this raise rewards those who are going to continue to share the growing pains right alongside you.

  1. Promotions

When employees think promotion, they’re usually thinking more money too. When employers think promotion, they’re probably thinking about increased productivity and additional value to their company (and yes, more money). When an employer offers up a promotion it says the employee’s work is highly valued and that management is confident that they will succeed at the next level. Of course, the next level comes with additional or different types of responsibilities, which often means a new level of salary, making it the perfect time to offer up a raise. It is a great reinforcement and return on your employee investment.

With even the most optimal situation, triple check to ensure you have the funds to provide a raise that is sustainable. Give your employees a roadmap to achieve future raises. Give yourself time to evaluate employee performance by making it part of your annual review process, and maintain consistency and fairness.