Is there any workplace topic more incendiary than compensation? Doesn’t really matter if you are on the Owner’s side of the topic or a regular employee. Equally, this can bring up buried emotions, for the workplace.
There is no hard and fast rule about doling out raises and bonuses that I know of, but I think every company should have a policy that guides them. Without any compensation policy, how does a manager determine when a raise might be appropriate? How much of a raise should be given? How often should an increase occur?
How about: managers should discuss some type of monetary reward, raise, or bonus when it is EARNED. Any day might be an appropriate day! How about: does it matter how much of a raise is EARNED? Could be fifty cents, a dollar, or a flat out bonus. How about: any time!
Okay, that sounds great to me, in theory. However, what happens when you have a three member Leasing Team who are friendly with one another and eat lunch together sometimes, and maybe even go out together after work? They talk. One of them mentions he/she received a raise and is celebrating, not thinking anything about it, or assuming they had all received an increase. “Really? Why?” one of them asks? The third person seethes inside silently as he/she ponders why he/she DIDN’T receive a raise, too.
The concept of “fairness” can tear a team apart if the appearance of unequal pay is at issue, especially when a sense of friendly competition is encouraged. Or, worse, if the team is expected to work together on all leases. For example, Leasing Consultant 1 answers the phone and books the appointment, but the only time the Prospect can visit the property is when Leasing Consultant 1 is off. Leasing Consultant 2 shows the Prospect around the property and makes every attempt to close the deal. Unfortunately, the Prospect is just not ready to commit and wants to continue shopping. It is three weeks later when the Prospect returns and Leasing Consultant 1 is not available and takes the Be-Back appointment and the Prospect tours a second apartment and fills out and application. Leasing Consultant 1 then processes the application, follows up on scheduling the move in date. Enter Leasing Consultant 3 who actually is the only one available on the now new Resident’s move in day. Leasing Consultant 3 collects the money, does the initial move in inspection with the Resident, submits a couple of work orders and is the one who delivers a move in gift to the Resident the next day with a note of thanks.
Leasing is often a team event. Awarding a bonus to only one these professionals seem wrong to me. Most offices may offer a split commission and that would be the end of the matter. The prudent thing to do is to make sure there is a Policy in place that covers this topic, as well as, when ALL employees might expect a raise or Bonus. Many companies offer not only commissions, but also Bonuses. If the company offers raises at an employee’s anniversary date, then this should also be done for ALL employees. The worst thing a company can do is to offer extra compensation to its star players when so often it is a team event. Put your policy in writing and have your teams sign it for their personnel file so at the very least everyone understands and can anticipate when such additional compensation can be earned, whether that is annual raises, monthly bonuses, or commissions.