How to Deal with Employees Who Feel Underpaid


A recent whitepaper reveals 11 percent of employees said that feeling they were underpaid was one of the top two reasons they left their job. The paper studied the exit processes of several countries in Asia, surveying 771 people looking for work as well as almost 500 hiring managers. The survey goes on to share that both employers and employees cited that feeling underpaid was a major motivation for resignations.

As an employer, you may have already heard resigning employees say the same thing during their exit interviews. How can you dissuade employees from leaving the company due to this feeling?

Given how high the cost of employee turnover can be, particularly if your company is in a rocky period, you may need to develop an employee retention strategy now before it’s too late:

Find Out if They are Underpaid

Before anything else, gather all available information regarding their salaries. Check the career and wage progression of the aggrieved employee to determine if they are indeed underpaid compared to other subordinates. You should also research whether your pay scheme is still up to par with what similar companies are giving their employees.

If your business hasn’t updated its wages, your employees may have real cause to look for greener pastures. Doing a little research could go a long way in keeping you abreast of your employee’s situation.

Explore Their Grievances

talking to employee

If your employee’s wages seem appropriate for their job description, investigate deeper. Perhaps they have other issues than the ones they’re most vocal about. Confer with them in private and inquire about their work experience and probe for other issues that may be the cause of their discontent. Perhaps it’s a personal matter, or maybe they’ve had a falling out with someone at work. Or maybe they have legitimate concerns about your operational procedures.

Explain Your Situation

When you’re talking to an employee in private, take the time to explain your side of things. If your company is in a bit of a financial rough patch, tell your employee. If your workforce understands the reasoning behind company policies, they could be more inclined to accept them.

Present Solutions

Finally, don’t just present your subordinates with a problem. You should also offer them possible solutions. If your company is in a financial jam, tell them your plans to overcome it. Assuage them with your confidence and by showing them that you have a handle on how to fix things.

Even better, tell them how they can contribute to your efforts. By giving them meaningful activity and purpose, you could dissuade them from resigning.

A high employee turnover rate not only affects your company’s productivity, and by extension, its profitability. It can also harm employee morale. You should nurture each one of the people working for you, grooming them to become more efficient employees and providing them with gainful work. Reaching out to them when they become disillusioned of their post is one of the best ways you can retain their skills and their loyalty.

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