Former President Suharto of Indonesian once famously dismissed the concern over his country’s corruption by saying: Well you come out here from Washington with these high ideas to tell us….
Why did his boss present the raise as a merit increase?
An Informative Coffee Break
On Monday morning, April 28, George Smith was given the news that effective May 1 he would receive a raise of 8 percent. This raise came two months before his scheduled performance appraisal. His manager, Loretta Weeks, informed him that the basis for the raise was his performance over the past several months and his potential worth to the company. He was told this was a very considerable increase. On Tuesday, a group of George’s coworkers were having their normal coffee break. The conversation turned to salary increases. One member of the group had received a performance review in April, but no indication of an impending salary adjustment had been given. George made a comment concerning the amount of any such increase, specifically questioning the range of increase percentages. Another coworker responded that she was surprised to have received an across-the-board 7 percent increase the previous Friday. A third individual had received a similar salary increase. Definitely astounded, George pressed for information, only to learn that several people had received increases of “around” 6 to 8 percent. George excused himself and left the group. That evening, George wrestled with his conscience concerning the discussion that day. His first impression of his raise was that it had been given based on performance. His second impression was decidedly sour. Several questions were bothering him:
1. Why did his boss present the raise as a merit increase?
2. Was job performance really a basis for salary increases in his department?
3. Did his boss hide the truth regarding the raise?
4. Could he trust his boss in the future?
5. On what basis would further increases be issued?