How to discuss salary review

Tanya from United Kingdom asked:

"I supervise a team of social workers, one of whom has recently joined the team after working in another team for 3 or 4 months. She has not been in the organisation very long. This staff member is unhappy about her pay rate and I think she has a valid issue... rather than leave or get increasingly resentful I have suggested she write to our manager and request that he review her salary. I beleive that in calculating her start figure, we failed to acknowledge a couple of skills that may have had the effect of bumping her start rate up (we were unaware of them at the time). She is a great worker and I would like to support her to at least make the request - even if it is unsuccessful. Can you suggest any content of the initial letter identifyng the issue, asking for the review and explaining the basis on which she believes it should occur? "

A Negotiation Expert Answered:

The key to successful salary negotiation is research and information. It would be advisable to convince her employer about her value to your organisation. One starting point would be to look externally for benchmarks - so what is she worth in the marketplace? Find out how easy it would be to replace her and attempt to articulate the kinds of benefits she brings to the organisation. This will assist you in calculating how much profit (or in a non-profit environment, how much expenditure and value add) will be sacrificed by losing her services. As a recommendation I would suggest that she pursues some other job offers to strengthen her negotiation position. She should go for a few interviews and create some real alternatives. If your organisation were to replace her to save a few thousand in salary, what might it cost if the replacement candidate performs sub optimally? Maybe it would be a good tactic to bring to the CEO's attention the fact that she may be lost to the organisation should you not be able to accommodate her obvious additional skills.

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