High performers in a company are very much valued. Most of the progressive firms keep the best of their performers happy with a heavy package and give them enough recognition in the company to keep them motivated.
However, many a time, some imbalance does arise. Pankaj Lochan, executive director & group CHRO, Jindal Steel & Power says that the ‘V=V’ formula works in such a case. He explains that, as long as the ‘value’ one creates for the company is equal to the ‘value’ the organisation expects from one, there is no issue. The problem starts only when there is an imbalance in this formula.
Very recently, Indra Nooyi, ex CEO, PepsiCo, said in an interview that she never ever asked for a hike in her career and that she considered such a demand ‘cringeworthy’. Though many have taken this statement to a very different level by even dragging in the debate of equal pay and parity for women into the issue, HRKatha wanted to explore how it works for star performers.
“Many top performers find it embarrassing to ask for a hike. Rather, if they feel that the company is not valuing them enough, they simply choose to move out”
Pankaj Lochan, executive director & group CHRO, Jindal Steel & Power
Matter of pride
Usually, all high performers expect their company to give them respectable hikes for their work. However, what happens when the ‘V’ is not equal to ‘V’? Do star performers usually find it embarrassing or ‘cringeworthy’, as Nooyi had stated, to ask for a hike?
Many HR leaders believe that the star performers usually do not demand a hike. They are the cream of the crop. Generally, for them, asking for a hike is beyond their dignity and pride. “Many top performers find it embarrassing to ask for a hike. Rather, if they feel that the company is not valuing them enough, they simply choose to move out,” says Lochan.
Seeking other opportunities
It is true that star performers seldom approach their managers directly to seek a hike. In most cases, when strong performers sense that their work is not being valued, they start seeking other opportunities in the market and try to bag a higher compensation from their prospective employer. After they receive a lucrative offer from another company, they try to negotiate their current package with the existing employer. If the internal benchmarking system allows the current company to match the offer or if the company feels it cannot really afford to lose such a critical talent, it will definitely retain that employee by offering the desired raise.
There are also a certain class of high performers, who prefer to simply leave the company without any drama.
“Generally, if an employee asks for a hike, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the management”
Kinjal Choudhary, management consultant, D360One Consultants
Reaction of management
Human resource leaders also mention that asking for a pay hike is not considered normal or ‘okay’ in a corporate environment. “Generally, if an employee asks for a hike, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the management,” says Kinjal Choudhary, management consultant, D360One Consultants.
As per Ajay Tiwari, VP-HR, Lupin, the performance-management system in a company keeps the high performers happy anyway. Therefore, all the star performers are given relatively good hikes as per the standard process. If the employees still feel they are being paid less, this may not go down well with the management. Tiwari believes that the employer — the firm an employee is working for — is a better judge of how much the employee really deserves to be paid. “High performers who seek higher compensation merely on the basis of their star performance, are simply being ‘greedy’,” opines Tiwari.
Choudhary shares that granting a hike on demand does not guarantee the loyalty of the star employee. “Many a time, I have observed that those who demand a hike do not really stay hooked to the company for long, even if they are granted the hike,” asserts Choudhary.
“High performers who seek higher compensation merely on the basis of their star performance, are simply being ‘greedy’”
Ajay Tiwari, VP-HR, Lupin
While the high performers may feel they are underpaid, there may also be average performers who feel the same way. Lochan admits to having witnessed situations where high performers are often granted a hike on demand, but when it comes to average performers, the company would prefer not to break the standard operations procedure (SOP).
Depending on the level of raise they are looking for, demand for hikes from star performers may not be that difficult to digest or grant. However, such demands may lead to them being tagged as ‘greedy’.