Boss Introduces A Bonus System To Save On Salaries, But It Backfires And Nearly Destroys The Business
Reddit user u/letowyn, who worked as an IT technician, recently submitted a story to the platform’s ‘Malicious Compliance’ community, recalling how their boss, rather than offering a raise, implemented a bonus system based on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Masquerading as a great opportunity, the change was actually designed to cheat u/letowyn and their colleagues out of a bigger salary. But the employees found a way around it and started organizing their day around a single goal — hitting their benchmarks.
Instead of receiving a well-deserved raise, this star employee got a “bonus” that was designed in a way to keep them underpaid
Image credits: seventyfourimages (not the actual photo)
But along with their colleagues, they found a way to cheat the system and prove to the boss that he had made a huge mistake
Image credits: Mikhail Nilov (not the actual photo)
Image credits: olia danilevich (not the actual photo)
Image credits: letowyn
We managed to get in touch with u/letowyn and they were kind enough to have a little chat with us.
“I very much enjoyed working for the company before the incident,” the Redditor told Bored Panda. “There was a culture of collaboration where each of the techs would help each other. We all got along and even hung out outside of work.”
At the time, u/letowyn felt like they had a great relationship with their boss. “Sometimes he would call me into his office and share a business problem he was facing and ask for my advice, which I was more than happy to give. I felt like he respected me, and I respected him.”
“In the meeting when he announced that he was no longer giving raises, it felt like a punch in the gut,” u/letowyn recalled. “He had promised me a raise in private, so for him to tell me in public like that felt very disrespectful. My relationship with him went downhill pretty quickly after that.”
The Redditor revealed that they would not have looked for another job if the workplace didn’t turn into such a toxic environment.
“Even if he had just told me he wasn’t giving me a raise, I don’t think I would have left. I only quit because everything became so stressful.”
People are often afraid to even ask for a raise
Image credits: Tima Miroshnichenko (not the actual photo)
Talking with your employer about money is rarely easy. In fact, a survey of 3,000 employees in the UK revealed that 55% of people are unwilling to even ask for a raise.
Among the reasons were not knowing what to say (16%), worries about appearing greedy (15%), or simply being afraid (12%). It’s clear that low self-confidence and a lack of knowledge surrounding their market value make people uncomfortable in these situations, even when the odds are in their favor.
Expert on leadership and executive development, Carol Hagh thinks that taking a step back and approaching these interactions strategically can help calm nerves and increase confidence.
“One approach that I encourage my clients to practice involves an important principle of negotiation: creating a win-win situation, or what I call a ‘two-way commitment,'” Hagh wrote in Harvard Business Review.
“The idea is to first communicate the value you are going to bring to your boss and to your organization, and then discuss what you hope your employer will do for you in exchange. It requires some preparation and a clear understanding of their expectations so that you can make a strong case for yourself and demonstrate your commitment to their success.”
When you are asking for the company to do something for you, it’s important for your commitment to come across in an authentic way. You can do this by:
- Expressing enthusiasm for where the company is growing;
- Talking about your satisfaction with a recent project that you completed;
- Reiterating how much you care about your teammates;
- Highlighting how your work is helping your manager reach their goals.
But they should view these talks as negotiations, not begging
Image credits: Andrea Piacquadio (not the actual photo)
Hagh highlighted that before going into the negotiation, you have to try to understand your boss’s perspective. “While a part of their job is to provide you with useful feedback and support your development, they also have multiple, competing priorities — including balancing budgets, meeting business targets, managing your peers, and progressing their own career,” she explained.
“You can get a sense of what these priorities are by paying attention to the announcements your company makes about business objectives and asking your manager how your work contributes to those goals,” Hagh added. “Similarly, make note of what your manager highlights or praises when things are going well and any concerns they express when things are not. These cues may show up during team or one-on-one meetings, or in departmental updates.”
If you, like u/letowyn, get a negative reply, consider it a sign to ask for feedback on your progress or performance. You might ask the following questions: ‘What did you think of the last project I worked on? Any advice for what I can do better? Do you have any feedback from the team? What’s the most important thing for me to work on right now?’
But if you’ve been with a company for multiple years, and have shown excellent work ethic and results, but are repeatedly dismissed when asking for a raise, then it might be time to move on.
As for u/letowyn, they think the whole nonsense could have been avoided. “I’m not against KPIs, I do understand how they can give valuable data to the owner. But the boss should have consulted with the techs first, as he did not understand how we operated on a day-to-day basis. “
“He then doubled down by refusing to listen to us when we told him the KPIs he was tracking were not an accurate reflection of how the company was doing. I hope my story can reach some small owners and I hope what they take away from it is that if you have employees who are good at their job, you should listen to them before making big changes,” the Redditor added.