Business Ethics:

Do You Deserve a Payrise?

by Trish Overby

Recently, several directors of different U.K. companies had their pay cheques increased. Of course, this brought tremendous criticism regarding not only the timing of their increases but also the reason for them. It appears we are pleased to hear of companies who give pay rises and bonuses to blue collar workers, but it goes against our grain when management earns the perks. For some reason, our mistrust of management goes beyond reason. We don't see the importance of the managerial system.

We feel they are not pulling their weight as we don't see how they get their hands dirty. Why is this so? Is it really because of the large pay increases or is it based on our scepticism of authority/management?

Criticism of Perks

The criticism of managerial perks has been two fold. First, do they deserve ANY payrise, cars or expense accounts given them? The 'high roller' life seems to go with the responsibility of managing personnel and business. Most of us in non-managerial jobs do not see or experience the direct or personal contact of those overseeing us. We do, however, feel their influence in what we do. Whether it is large, new orders for us to produce or new machinery to help us get the job done efficiently, it is a result of management helping us to do our job and keep our job. One U.K. company reckoned that their sales director had brought in at least £2.5 million of manufacturing business.

Therefore, any increase in wages or perks can be seen as an incentive to work harder, no matter if we are managers or not. A shop floor manager can impress upon the administration of a manufacturing company the benefits of new machinery to help his colleagues to work more efficiently to get a job finished quicker. This goal to work hard and be rewarded for your work is really what wages and payrises are all about. It can either be seen critically or seen positively in a job situation. Such as, "Ok, I didn't make it this time but how can I make it next time?" or "What am I doing right and how can I do it more often?" This attitude keeps a healthy outlook at one's job, seeing how to keep improving and making our work more efficient. But what about those directors/managers who get 'excessive' pay increases?

Lack of Trust

The second criticism of perks is-do those managers/directors deserve such large bonuses? In the BBC, the unions had negotiated a deal for the workers to get a pay rise according to inflation(2%). Months later, the director of the company received a bonus of up to 5 times inflation. The unions and their members were up in arms. It appears very unfair for the director to get so much and the rest of the employees to get so little. The injustice of it all seems to spur us to shout loudly and ask whether it should be a shared increase for all. This type of grievance is what perpetuates the lack of trust between the levels of employees in any company.

This lack of trust in authority or management is nothing new. World history is full of incidents and revolutions where authority is not trusted and therefore, overthrown. The division between those in charge and those who carry out the orders is ever growing. Instead of unity in a company, we see disharmony and discontent. Instead of seeing the best in one another and how best to work together, we see attacks on management and the growth of the unions to defend the 'oppressed' workers. Equality in the work place can be possible if everyone in the company sees and knows their own worth. How is this possible?

Most of us would believe our value to this world is measured by what we do. But is this true? When we fall in love, we treasure and honour the loved one because of who they are, regardless of what they do. So, our own self esteem should be measured by who we are. The big question we need to ask ourselves is not what am I worth but who am I. The answer to this important question can bring us a true sense of value in our work place, our families and in society. This answer comes from outside of ourselves, our situations and our world.

Most world religions believe in a creator Being. It is through this Creator/God that we find our value and worth in this world. He has created me with the characteristics and personality that is truly my own. No one in this world is like me. Even twins are said to have separate identities, even though they have similar physical characteristics. The Creator has created us for this world because of a personal interest in us and care for us. Because of this strong interest, we can put our complete trust in Him for all of our daily situations and needs. So, even if the boss gets a bonus pay cheque, we can be happy for him and look forward to working wholeheartedly with him. And when we, ourselves, receive a pay rise, we can see that it isn't because we deserved it. It is because we have a Creator God who is watching over us and sees our every need. This is the Creator God we need to get to know and trust with all of our lives.

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