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  • Jessie I.

What to do with an employee that wants a raise but you can't give it to them

Updated: May 30

Knowing that you can't give a raise makes things very hard for you in your particular situation. It is unlikely that things will go well if you simply say "no" you can’t be promoted and end the discussion there. The same is true if you tell them something could happen in a few months but know it won't.

2 men meeting


Instead, you need to shift the focus of the conversation to what is really bothering them because there is a good chance that this is not just about money. That can then be fixed, which will have a greater impact than money alone would. This indicates that there may be additional issues with your team member that need to be addressed. And it's possible that something was partially or unintentionally your fault. Asking them about their problem is the best way to find a solution to it. Use your one-on-one time with them if you don't have time to do that right when they ask for a raise. They are the ideal time to openly discuss the factors that lead them to believe they are underpaid. What is currently your least favorite aspect of your job?

What one thing could we do to improve our team's efficiency?

Do you feel like you are working too much, too little, or just right?

Do you wish you could alter any aspects of our culture?

Is there anything you need my assistance with?


Then, really listen to them and ask them additional questions in response to the questions you asked earlier. Rephrasing their message in your own words to confirm that you have comprehended it by repeating it in their exact words, processing it in similar words, and so on

The final level requires you to express your team members' messages in their own words and have them agree. Clarity is the goal with this strategy. Not only do you get the chance to ask them questions and delve deeper into a subject, but you also confirm their most important ideas.

In the long run, having skills in active listening can save you a lot of trouble. You don't have to wait days or weeks to find out if you received their message; instead, you can confirm that you did in that very moment. Regardless of the quality of their work, you sometimes have to deal with the fact that you are unable to increase their financial compensation. This may be due to budget constraints or the way raises are handled at your company.


What you could do is give them every opportunity for career advancement. There are numerous cost-effective methods for staff expansion:

1. Acquaint them with a mentor further along in a comparable job.

2. Get them a book or course to become familiar with another expertise that applies to their present place of employment .

3. Enable them to take on an undertaking to fix an issue essential to them, and others.

When they are requesting a raise but you are unable to provide one, the last option is especially useful. In addition to giving them a chance for growth, you're also assisting them in resolving the underlying issues that have them frustrated. New responsibilities can have some very important advantages for both you and them, especially in this situation:you can get assistance with tasks for which you didn't have the resources before.

When the time is right, you can make a stronger case for giving your team member a raise because they are now even more valuable to you and the company. They are focused on the new challenge instead of constantly thinking about the raise. Even if they leave, they will have a new, useful bullet point for their resume or interview talking point.

Only your own imagination and willingness to experiment with new concepts will determine whether or not you are able to expand your workforce and refresh their roles. Use engaging projects to assist someone who asks for a raise in the short and long term.



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