Was not given 3 1/2 % raise

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about shorted in raise and bonus:

Hi, when I was hired 2 yrs ago I was told I would get the 3 1/2% raise every year. Now I just had my 2 yr review and it was a good review considering the past two yrs I have had some conflicts with my manager. I was only given 2 1/2 percent at my review. When I said in the interview “You stated 3 1/2 percent would be given each year”, I was told they are watching the budget. I know we are in some hard times, but I also know we are doing very well.The manager even stated they are just cutting back a little but will hire us a new girl to help out soon because we are so understaffed. I am very upset because I know the girl next to me got 3 1/2 percent in January. How do I handle this? Also my Christmas bonus was less than everyone else got. What is going on? Does she want me to leave, or am I being taken advantage of? I feel I deserve the 3 1/2 percent and feel sour at the at the thought of staying where I am not going to be treated fairly. Thanks for your advice.

Signed, Frustrated

Dear Frustrated:

It sounds as though your company varies the bonuses between employees, based on some criteria that you don’t know. Your first step is to find out what is used as a guideline for bonuses. HR could help you, or you could ask your manager. The matter is settled for now, from their viewpoint, so you can only plan for next time. But, you should definitely find out what it will take to get the maximum bonus, and what it was that resulted in you getting less than the maximum. If you receive a performance appraisal look at the categories and what was written about each one. Then, think about what would be truly excellent work in each category and find ways to fulfill that. Often employees never consider their evaluation form on a daily basis, but that is usually what gets you your bonus, or certainly what makes your reputation. If you are only good or fair in a category and someone else is good or excellent in it, that can make a difference at bonus time.

I’m surprised you were told you would receive a 3.5% bonus, as though it was a done deal. It’s not a bonus if its guaranteed, it’s just a pay raise every year. A bonus is for bonus work and bonus behavior. So, perhaps they meant you could receive up to a 3.5% bonus. I don’t know many places that automatically give the same to everyone, because it would be a disincentive for anyone to do better than someone else.It seems you’re not sure where you stand with any of this, so I think you should focus on your work and relationships and also talk to your manager in a sincere way about how you could demonstrate your value and show them you deserve the bonus next time.I doubt they want you to leave, and they may even think highly of you. They may want to know how you are feeling and would like to talk to you as well.Best wishes with this situation. 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.