Case Study

Remuneration or more than monetary terms?

Situation
Adeline (not the real name), a Sales Manager finds that her pay is too low.  She has worked for 7 years for a SME-based local firm that deals in manufacturing.  She is well liked by her peers, she meets her sales target. Her performance has exceeded the management’s expectation according to her appraisal reports.

Henceforth, she asks for a pay raise in base salary (not commission).

Her boss mention about the cyclical nature of the business, informing that she needs to be patient. She waits but there is no follow-up response. Upon more follow-through, her boss reacts with another answer which is usually the effect of market forces. Thus, the company is not doing well.

Her pay remains stagnant, she feels demoralised and less motivated.

Assessment
This can be seen as a direct “exit and find another job” or is there a deeper layer of understanding needed for Adeline to make the right decision?  Is there some truth in the company’s revenue due to weak macroeconomic forces?  Or is it just the firm’s internal measures in stiff wage growth?

Ken, the Certified Career Coach, jumps in with a bespoke approach. Conduct a “Needs Analysis” which involve an overview about the industry dynamics, as well as understanding a set of specific internal and external factors that may shape her perspective about a better pay package.

Therefore, draw up the outline and next course of action based on the methodology of desk research, her self reflection, internal strategic mapping (by Adeline) and validation of all information uncovered.

It’s a mix of coaching and consultation with the theme: “Workplace Remuneration“.

A set of questions to investigate include: 

  • Why drives her boss to react pessimistically?
  • What type of performances, apart from sales quota hit, that warrants a pay raise?
  • What are the expertise and experiences she have picked up over 7 years?
  • In what context has Adeline engage the management about remuneration?
  • How is the organization structure (decision making, key players etc.)
  • What’s Adeline’s salary expectation?

Outcome
After drawing out the organization hierarchy, she knows who to approach.  HR does not give her the specific, her boss chips in to inquire internally after a series of open-ended positive conversations taken place during coffee chat (yes, she pulls her boss out from the stifling office partition).  She manage to reach to the level of deeper engagement due to the framing of questions asked with the guidance of the Certified Career Coach – Ken.

Adeline realises that there is a current fixed ceiling regarding salesperson’s base remuneration. This has not changed.  She also discovers that her experiences and track record have reached to an optimal point. This is why she feels that expectation is not aligned, considering she has contributed a proportion of the firm’s sales over time. She has grown to be a better salesperson.

What she gears up for in the future is to have a wider exposure to international markets. Therefore, to find a company that matches her requirements. It can be the same industry, different scope of work.  Her current firm doesn’t offer such opportunities.

Lastly, she needs a company to value her expertise.  She is grateful for the opportunity given, knowing that she can’t control the uncontrollable factors.

There is a ray of hope, a clear path to work on.  Finally, she makes the final decision to move forward – and manage to get another job with progressive action steps – with the coaching support of Ken.

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