When Raises Aren't Possible
The economy is still in a hard place; and so are some churches. So what do you do when you have valuable staff, but you’re not able to show your appreciation with a raise in salary? Liz Ryan has worked in corporate HR for over 20 years. Recently, Matt Branaugh from Managing Your Church sat down with her and asked: What is one immediate thing many churches can do to reward staff, absent of a pay raise or a new health benefit, but might overlook? Here is her response: “We tend to think of churches or nonprofit organizations and assume they have a special burden because they don’t necessarily have the cash or fancy stuff to throw around. But even in the big corporations and organizations that you’d expect to have the cash and fancy stuff to throw around, the biggest issue is recognition and the value of employee contributions. This can come a variety of ways. For instance, it can be as simple as making it a habit to ask the front desk receptionist how to do things better in the church office. Leadership is free. Management is expensive. Having to watch people on (the management) side of the equation, making sure they don’t do the wrong thing, writing the policies—that’s expensive and time consuming. Leading people the way they’d like to be led, giving them latitude, and really recognizing their contributions—that’s pretty cheap. That’s free. People know the state of finances. But senior pastors need to understand their situation is no different than any other leader [who is] responsible for people. They say, ‘I’m a senior pastor and I have such limited chips. I’ve got so little cash, it’s hard to talk about. It’s painful.’ And they assume it’s maybe best to put everything under wraps and not talk at all. That’s the last thing they should be doing. Once a month, they should say ‘Hey Jack, you’re a great youth pastor and I hope I tell you that enough. I would pay you more. You know our finances and know we’re not in a position to do it, but I would if I could because you deserve that. Your contribution is massive.’ That’s the conversation you can have when you don’t have the cash. For many people, when it’s sincere, that’s as meaningful as the cash. If people are motivated by soul energy, give it to them! She also has some other advise for things churches can do for staff when cash is low. They are good suggestions you should check out. Has your church ever been in this situation? How did you handle it?