You’re valuable, but only worth what’s in the budget

posted Feb 28, 2014, 9:13 AM by Tia Karelson   [ updated Mar 14, 2014, 3:42 PM ]

This week I was waiting for an appointment at a mid-sized corporation. Another woman was waiting too, an employee.  Soon, an HR person came out to greet her with a warm hello. They proceeded into a meeting room off the waiting area. It turns out the walls were thin. The HR woman thanked the employee profusely for stepping up and taking on a project, and now wanted to offer her a job…at a lower rate of pay than she currently makes “because that is what is budgeted.” My stomach lurched. I could not hear the employee’s response, but I thought this business just lost a good employee, not yet physically, but emotionally and mentally.  It was time for my appointment, and I heard no more.

The business is one that is experiencing increasing competition, and needs to make wise decisions to stay relevant and profitable. The business has a very real, tangible budget. There are executives making significantly more money than this woman who are sweating out the financials. They probably know nothing about this particular circumstance, but likely made firm statements to their department heads to keep costs down. Success. Not only did they keep costs down, they cut them. Those few thousand dollars will mean nothing on the next quarterly spreadsheet, but they will mean a great deal to the employee who just took on a role with more responsibility for less pay.

Employees understand that budgets dictate their salaries and perks. However, they also understand that there are limits on the sacrifices they should make for the employer and its shareholders.

I hope this employee will negotiate to ensure she is paid her worth. If not, may she find an employer willing to appreciate her value, and pay her for that worth.

May the business build financial success while supporting its employees with more than hollow words.