Denied Raise Even Though I Deserve It

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about recognition:

I was recently told at work by numerous coworkers that my supervisor remarked to them “You will never guess who has the highest efficiency rating.” He implied that it would hard to believe that it could be me and he mentioned my name specifically. I know for a fact that I have had the highest efficiency on my shift, possibly in the entire plant, and my coworkers know that! (I found a way to look it up on the computer, which I’m not sure I’m supposed to have access to.)

I have always made an extra effort to achieve that, in order to get my next raise. Even though all my coworkers slack off and hang around and talk, including the supervisor, they have all gotten a raise. There is clear and obvious favoritism going on. I have been on this particular shift for 15 months now. I get along with everyone. Yet after all this time and extra effort, I go unnoticed. Never a single comment. I work in a production based environment. This is one of the most important factors of the job. Again and again I hear from my coworkers about my supervisor talking about me to my coworkers, which I feel is totally unprofessional. But I’m afraid if I go over his head I’ll just be shooting myself in the foot. Suggestions?

Signed, Hard Worker

Dear Hard Worker:

It seems there is much more to this story than you realize–or than you are sharing. You say you get along with everyone, but apparently you don’t get along with your supervisor at all. There must be some issue, even if you feel it is not your fault, which is causing him to not want to recommend you for a raise. More likely, there are other components to the raise process, and while you meet the productivity component you don’t meet the others, in his view. I wonder if you have asked him about it or if you have received a formal performance evaluation and have had the chance to find out how you have been evaluated in areas other than production. Or, if you have ever simply asked him how you could be sure to get a raise next time. If you haven’t done that, you certainly need to do so.

You can let your supervisor know you are aware that he has talked about you. “Ted, I hear you told the others that I had the highest efficiency on the shift. That’s exactly what I’ve been working to achieve! What impact will that have on me getting a raise when it’s time for salary adjustments?” Contact HR as well, not to complain but to find out how raises are given. You can bet it is not just up to the supervisor, if figures are tabulated as you say they are. There is a manager over your supervisor and there is usually a justification requirement, based on statistics as well as other issues.

You have worked there for fifteen months. Find out if there is a time frame for raises. Find out what else you are evaluated upon and when you were supposed to have your overall performance discussed with you. See if you can get a blank copy of your evaluation form so you can study it. As for you accessing the information about your productivity, be sure what you are doing is approved. If you are somehow hacking into information you are not supposed to have, you could be fired for that. If you merely have found a section others don’t know about, there probably would be no rule against it and you would not be violating any security policy. Just be sure your actions are OK.

The bottom line is that there are nearly always standards other than production for raises to salaries. You should be communicating with your supervisor about it to find out what those other standards are and how you can achieve them. Be honest about it and say you are asking so you can be sure to merit a raise next time. If you know a time for salary adjustments has come and gone and you didn’t receive a raise, ask why you did not receive one. Those are valid questions and you certainly are not wrong to seek the information. If your supervisor refuses to talk to you about it or can’t give you a good explanation, you should then go higher, either to a manager or to HR to find out about it, since it involves your financial well-being.Communication is obviously the key to your concerns. You and your supervisor need to be communicating much more than is apparently happening. Your supervisor should be taking the first step, but if he doesn’t, it’s up to you.Best wishes in this. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.