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Don’t Avoid The Money Conversation

Some Type of Review Process is Essential

Despite the recent spate of articles about companies ditching them, most managers we work with are about to enter or have entered the annual round of performance reviews. Whilst it may sound a good idea to get rid of the annual review and replace it with a more ongoing and organic feedback process, getting rid of the current system is proving hard to do. Indeed a more organic system requires a lot more ownership from the line manager.

None the less, some form of “state of the nation” annual review is a good idea and in current systems, both sides of this process can go in with some trepidation, uncertain of how it is going to play out, worried about the need to give or get feedback and especially nervous about one element that will almost certainly be hovering around: money.

Money is a loaded topic

A recent blog post by Janet Britcher highlighted this really well. She rightly identified that talking money is something of a loaded topic. We bring our own baggage into the conversation, based on our upbringing and how we feel about money. That impacts the way a conversation about money is handled, or even whether it is raised at all.

Yet we have to discuss the money issue during the performance process, even if the bonus or pay rise is not officially handed out until later in the year. The truth is that if someone is producing great results and creating plenty of value, there is an expectation that it will be rewarded, not just recognised.

Stephen Covey’s “Trust Bank Account” model talks through 5 key areas that break and build trust and central among these are two linked but distinct elements:

Keeping or breaking promises

Honoring (or not) expectations
The distinction between the two is really that the first is explicit and the second is implicit. In most instances how people will be rewarded monetarily is implicit, simply because companies can’t always make explicit promises. None the less if someone expects a monetary reward and it is not forth coming, then you’ll have a problem.

Prepare all you can

What you can or cannot give to your people this review, based on the previous year’s work may be cast in stone. Indeed some managers we work don’t have the control about what people are paid. And quite possibly the expectations of what the effort put in during the last year was worth in terms of remuneration were probably set 12 months ago. What every manager, supervisor and team leader has the opportunity to do this round of discussions, is to set better, more explicit expectations for the performance/reward, so that everything is out in the open. And this goes for the conversation you will no doubt be having with your boss as well.

To do this every manager needs to get as much clarity themselves, in order to have a better conversation with the person that is being reviewed. Doing that will raise your credibility and the respect the other person has in you. And importantly the discretionary effort is likely to be much higher in the year ahead.

Richard Wentworth Ping
CEO Wentworth People

If you are interested in finding out how you can create high performance cultures in your workplace, contact Wentworth People here or call 1800 807288

We have been helping organisations build successful, enjoyable work cultures since 1989.