There have been a number of posts lately about how we should reward employees for taking on additional work duties. Our editor, Ann Bares has weighed in on this subject both here at the Café (post 1 and post 2); and also over at her Compensation Force blog with this post. Another great blogger, Allison Green over at Ask a Manager responded to a reader question about this topic in a post that was featured at U.S. News and World Report.
I found some of the reader comments to Allison’s post to be very interesting. It’s obvious that some people firmly believe that more duties should equal more base pay. In every job I’ve ever had starting all the way back in high school, I’ve always been asked to take on more work than what I was originally hired for. I think that perhaps one time I was given more money along with the additional duties, but mostly it was at the same base pay rate. However, taking on the additional duties has always led to additional growth and eventual promotions, which did entail more money.
If we’re asking someone to take on more work, it’s because we like the work they’re doing and believe that this person has more potential. Maybe we’re evaluating their abilities in different areas to determine how far they can go with our company. During this time of high unemployment when reductions have occurred nearly everywhere, we’ve only kept those people who are valued contributors to our work team. So the addition of responsibilities is a vote of confidence and an opportunity for that individual.
Additional responsibilities that do not entail a significant increase in judgment or accountability should not automatically equate to more base pay. That’s simply life in our current business environment. Although I believed that even before the economy tanked and we were all asked to do more with less. Additional responsibilities that are at a higher level than the work being performed now (a.k.a. “a promotion”) should be accompanied by more base pay.
A better response to added duties is to say “thank you, we believe in your work and appreciate having someone who’s capable of doing more on our team.” If we really feel the need to financially compensate our employees for doing more work at the same level, Ann’s proposal of a one-time bonus is the best monetary solution since it isn’t a permanent commitment.
Darcy Dees works as the Compensation Manager for Rock Bottom Restaurants, Inc., headquartered in Louisville, CO. She has been working in Compensation for over 5 years now and recently attained her Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) designation. She spends what little free time she has hiking and reading.