Salary review conversations can be really great – or the worst conversation you can have with an employee. No matter what kind of news your sharing, these tips and agenda items will help the conversation go smoothly!
Pre-meeting pointers 📝
You get one shot at conversations like this and they are super important to your employees. You owe it to them to put in the time and prepare:
- Do your homework! Know your company’s policy and philosophy on compensation reviews, and make sure you’re comfortable with the news you’re about to share. If you have questions or concerns about how the decision to increase (or not increase) your employee’s compensation was made, then get them answered by your manager or HR team before the meeting. Knowledge is power and if you want to confidently share this update, you need to fully understand how the decision was made.
- Be familiar with your employee’s current salary and any changes they might have gotten before they began reporting to you.
- If you think the conversation is going to be tough, role play it with a peer beforehand. Make some brief bullet points of what you want to share and how you want to share it and practice it out loud with a fellow manager.
Your salary review meeting agenda template
One you’ve got the prep work done, the following five agenda items should help you nail this conversation with your team!
Click here to jump to the SoapBox salary review meeting agenda template!
1. Recap of company compensation philosophy (5 minutes)
Briefly share some quick reminders of your company’s philosophy around compensation and compensation reviews. For example: “As you know, when we talk about compensation, we’re referring to salary, benefits, stock options etc. It’s easy to get bogged down by the number, so good to remember what’s all included!”
2. The update (5 minutes)
Get to this as quickly as possible. The chances are your employee isn’t absorbing much of the info you share before these words because they’re so preoccupied with this, so share it early in the meeting and leave as much time as possible for discussion and explanation of the decision.
3. The details (5 minutes)
If the person is getting a salary update, share what the change is and what that equates to in actual numbers. (Most people can’t do the quick math on the spot in a potentially stressful situation, so remove that pressure for them!) Once you’ve explained the number, share the context around why that number was chosen. Lastly, make sure to be clear on when this change comes into effect.
If you’re explaining to an employee why they won’t be getting a raise, be sure to give as much context as possible for why this decision was made.
4. How does that update feel to you? (10 minutes)
Pause. Stop talking and let your employee absorb the information you just shared. Give them a chance to reflect and respond.
5. Questions? (15 minutes)
You’ll want to leave plenty of time for your employee to ask questions. Take notes of questions they ask. If they ask for context or additional info that you don’t have on-hand, assign next steps to yourself to follow up.
You should also assign a next step if you promise to go back to HR with a further request for change. Show them you’re taking this seriously, and will be diligent in getting to a place where you both feel comfortable and happy with the outcome.
Other salary review meeting tips 💰
- A looming salary review conversation = a distracted and potentially nervous employee! Minimise the time your team member feels this way and schedule it earlier in the day. Close to or right before lunch is ideal – it gives your employee (and you!) the chance to get take a breather afterward.
- Pick a room that is soundproof and offers privacy – avoid the breakout areas and rooms with huge open windows.
- Make sure to schedule a follow up – especially if there were any questions left unanswered or if you feel like the news wasn’t what your employee was hoping for. Add an item to your next one-on-one that focuses on how they feel about the conversation, and if they have any additional thoughts or questions they want to share.