Have you ever heard a conversation of this nature around the company “water cooler?”

“Guess what I just found out.”


“I’m getting paid less than Joe in my department and I’m doing the same job!”

“So what are you going to do?”

“Start looking for another job.”

Monster.com, the premier global online employment solution leader, recently conducted a poll regarding unfair pay practices. They asked the question, “What would you do if you found out you were being paid unfairly?” Votes were cast by Monster.com site visitors and revealed that many employees would confront their bosses and ask for a raise. However, just as many employees would not only ask for that coveted raise, but would also start looking for another job. Leadership and team building breakdown? You bet!

So what happened here? Plain and simple, the employee lost trust in their boss and probably the organization as a whole. It would make sense that leaders who want to instill a strong sense of belonging and loyalty would incorporate equity in pay as a strong motivator for retaining top talent. Unfortunately, this often turns out not to be the case. Without feeling as a valued team member, these employees search for greener pastures.

At TIGERS Success Series, I find polls and surveys like this one quite interesting – they are the pulse of American and global work place cultures. It is well known that women and minorities have suffered from unfair pay for generations; however, there are other factors to take into consideration before abandoning ship as noted by Career Expert, Mary Ellen Slayter:

“Finding out that you are being paid less than your coworkers can feel like a slap in the face,” said Mary Ellen Slayter, Career Advice Expert for Monster.com. “It’s important to take a step back and not act rashly. Consider factors like seniority and length of tenure before deciding your pay is unfair. If you are going to bring it up, approach the subject carefully: be sure you have thoroughly correct information, and know the difference between your dream salary and a fair salary. If, after meeting with your boss and discussing the discrepancy in your pay, you are still feeling under appreciated, you should explore your other options.”

The global Monster.com poll results from 7800 participants are as follows:

  • 36% of respondents answered “Talk to my boss and start looking for a new job”
  • 41% of respondents answered “Talk to my boss and demand a raise”
  • 15% of respondents answered “I wouldn’t talk to my boss but would start looking for a new job”
  • 8% of respondents answered “I would complain to friends and family but wouldn’t do anything else”

Unfair pay practices are one of the quickest ways to lose talent within an organization. It is a blow to an employee’s sense of worth and leads to the loss of productivity and morale. Leaders who understand the need for pay equity, where warranted, build a successful work environment and strengthen team building and collaboration among their employees. Corporations stand to gain when it is understood that productivity, sustainability, and profit are derived from valued employees.

Copyright TIGERS Success Series by Denise McGill

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Six principles that build high performance teams make up the TIGERS acronym. They are trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success.

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