Responsibility as It Relates to Monetary Gain in the Workplace

The other morning on one of the news feeds I was reading, a person wrote in for help because their employer was moving them to a new position that offered more responsibility and complexity yet did not come with a raise. The comments were numerous as you could imagine.

  • The employee herself, and others supported that they thought she was getting set up to get fired.
  • Many told her to demand a raise and not do the work until the employer abided.
  • Others just sympathized with her because of how unfair they felt it was and how they felt so badly that this happened to her.

The one-sided, emotional in nature, advice continued with comment after comment. So, I thought I would chime in with my thoughts.

Working with employers and being an employer myself, I saw it quite the opposite based on the limited information of more responsibility and difficulty, yet the same compensation straight out of the gate.

I thought that her employer moving her to a more challenging position would allow for the following:

Allow the employer to give another person an opportunity for the former position while the former employee remains gainfully employed by the company which would help in onboarding, ongoing encouragement, questions, etc. After all, the moved employee did that job and so well that they were given more challenging responsibilities. This accomplishes two important things for an employer. That of a new employee moving into a new position and an existing employee not staying stagnant with their skillset.

Allow the company to expand their organization and an employee’s career skills while they get the newbie in both roles ramped up (supporting two salaries working at learning capacity) to have time to maximize their productivity and create revenue for a pay raise. It also gives time for both employees to adjust to their new responsibilities without pressure of being a financial burden on the company.

Most likely the new responsibilities this person is gaining is due to an increase production or efficiency of the company or someone transitioned out of the position whether up, down or out. Either way, instead of hiring in a new person – they picked an existing one. They would not have picked that employee if that person did not do their existing job well and they didn’t feel they had the aptitude to do the new job well.

I assure all you employees out there that if you are given new responsibility, even without a raise, it is because they are counting on you to be able to step up to the responsibility level and give them reason to give you a raise as soon as they can recoup as a company and do so sustainably.

Learning how to communicate with your supervisor and leadership at your place of business will help you to understand if you feel that you are in some way targeted, unappreciated, taken advantage of etc. when something changes with the role you are doing. How do you communicate to understand a change?

  1. Be thankful for the opportunity. You may have a lot of unknowns, at that moment the announcement of the change is made, but a responsibility change is sure better than walking papers and continues to build your skillset.
  2. Ask questions to understand why they selected you. Simple questions like “Why did I get selected to take on these responsibilities?” and “How do you foresee me transitioning into my new responsibilities?” These simple questions can answer some, or all, of their intent for you, and the picture they have in mind for your future at the company. It can also alleviate the burden you may have unnecessarily taken on with reading into what may not be true at all.
  3. Express to your supervisor any worries you may have with the responsibility change. It could be anything from working with different associates, working hours, training or other things you need to learn more about to align their expectations with your expectation and alleviate any concerns both you and your employer might have.

My comment in the chain was: “It is quite likely that your employer trusts in you and recognizes your aptitude to give you more responsibility. They may need to hire someone else to expand the company and your current responsibilities are easier to train a new person to do. New or more responsibility may not result in monetary gain right away. Companies have budgets, cash-flow, review processes and other things that must align. If you master your new responsibilities and maintain your positive attitude, communicate though the unknowns, then monetary gain will follow either from your current employer or with your expanded skillset at another place of employment.”

Getting selected by your employer to take on new or expanded responsibilities is a good thing. Asking for a raise out of the gate, to take them on, is not. Asking questions to eliminate fear and eliminate false expectations that could lead to a relationship breakdown demonstrates they picked the right person for the job. After all, skill can be taught, but attitude and aptitude cannot. Don’t let a bad attitude over more responsibility eliminate your chances for a raise, now or later.

To Gladly Accepting New Responsibility,

Suzanne Breistol


1 Comment
  • Joseph cerrone

    Another well thought out article, did you ever think about writing a book?

    Your insist is amazing.

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