Asking people how they feel about their lousy pay rise is key way to getting them back on board

What do you think employees would do when an expected annual pay rise turns out to be much lower than expected?

Outrage? Silence?

Active resignations? Passive resistance?

What is your instinctive reaction as a leader to managing that ‘bad’ change news?

Latest research from India¹ shows that the damaging impact of bad news can be significantly mitigated through asking people their opinions.

“A randomly assigned employee satisfaction survey, administered to Indian garment workers shortly after a disappointing wage hike, reduced quit rates by 20%. Importantly, the effects of this voice intervention were strongest among those most disappointed by the wage hike. ….The same pattern of results is apparent when we look at worker absenteeism, a less extreme form of exit.”

This research confirms a common pitfall of many leaders – where they manage delivering ‘bad’ news by ‘weathering the storm’ and pushing out generic positive corporate change messages. This pitfall delivers more harm than good to their organisations as more people leave and absenteeism increases.

Turn the tables instead on that pitfall by grasping people’s opinions, especially those with the strongest opposing views. That act of deep listening and inclusion will deliver a far stronger foundation from which to build the desired change outcomes.

With user-focused digital tools now readily available to support that employee engagement, even the ‘worst’ change news can lead to a positive outcome for both employees and the organisation. I’ve use them significantly with teams I work, always with powerful payback.



¹Adhvaryu, Molina, Nyshadham, (2019), More Money, More Problems: Expectations, Wage Hikes, and Worker Voice