Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Hey Fletch … I have a staff member who constantly makes jokes about getting a raise. The first few times it was kinda funny, but now the humor has worn off. What should I do?

DRF—Humor can be an insight into someone’s thought life. It can also be divisive when it is hurtful or inappropriate. Your staff member is making inappropriate jokes. Money is on their mind. The jokes need to stop, now!

The first thing to do is have a private conversation with the staff member. Set up a sixty minute meeting to talk through the issues. I recommend an hour so that you will have sufficient time to have a thorough discussion. You don’t want to rush this!

Gently point out that they have joked about raises. Let them know how many times they have done this. Then, transition the discussion to where and how to have appropriate discussions with you about compensation.

Your staff member may have valid concerns about their salary. They may be underpaid or feel that they are underpaid. Listen to their concerns. There may be a changing family situation, such as the birth of a child, that is putting new stress on their budget. While you do not want to give a raise based on this, you can commiserate with them about the financial challenge.

I would not suggest promising a raise in the meeting but affirming that you will review their salary. Finally, conclude the meeting with a clear statement that they need to guard their humor and that your door is always open to conversations.