AI, MBSO, Reward Cycle… whatever you call it, it’s Salary Review time!

It’s late March, and every C&B manager is performing their sacred duty right now: making sure hundreds, thousands, maybe tens of thousands of employees are considered for a raise, and hopefully a bonus.

So busy lah!

Yes, but I don’t want to talk about us. I want to focus on the one with the most difficult job in all of this: the manager.

Now this might seem counter-intuitive to my fellow C&B friends who have devoted anywhere from 200-500 hours in recent months verifying data, conducting market analysis, updating ranges, calculating compa-ratios, developing manager worksheets (or online systems), chasing PM ratings, and revising salary increase guidelines to align with salary budgets. But the job of a manager–telling their subordinate what their pay increment will be, based on their performance, salary inflation or other considerations–is, in my opinion, the harder job.


  • In a matter of minutes, a pay conversation can tell an employee whether they are really valued by the company, or simply “meets expectations” which may not inspire future effort
  • An employee who has read in the local paper that the government is giving 4.1% raises and is told by her manager that she is a valued employee and getting a 3.8% increase because of the curve… is likely to drop about 10 points in terms of her engagement
  • A manager who had to give one key team member extra money, skimming dollars from other team members, has to have several very difficult conversations in order to deliver enough of an increase to send a “please stay with us” message to the key member

Hats off to the C&B professionals who make every possible effort to provide line managers great tools for reviewing and planning salaries and bonuses. Double hats off and highest regard to the line managers who must deliver pay-related news to their staff and keep them engaged.


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