The Troubleshooters – 10th March 2006

Don’t let your workplace worries get you down. Whatever your question, Travel Weekly’s panel of experts has got the experience and knowledge to solve it.

This week, Jill Foley looks at how to deal with salary expectations that can’t be met; and Helen Simpson on getting help with bonding forms.

Click here to meet the experts and submit a question…

Jill Foley

It is salary review time, but my company does not have the budget to be able to give my team members the pay increases I know they are expecting. How do I tackle this issue, while still keeping my team motivated and happy in their jobs?

troubleshooters jill foleytroubleshooters - big A This is tricky and needs to be tackled with honesty. If you read any employee survey, monetary reward never comes up as a top reason for wanting to work with a given employer. Instead, good leadership, great colleagues and feeling part of an organisation top the list.

The big issue here is your employees’ salary expectations. These will be shaped by the wider economy, the specifics of your business and what people have discussed at the coffee machine. If you are unable to meet expectations, you need to set out clearly why not.

Also work together on how to improve performance, find ways of generating extra business and translate that into what they could expect if the plans come together. In summary:

  • Be honest from the start: face up to expectations and don’t hide from difficult conversations;
  • Set out a future vision with your team: work with them to help plan and prepare for next year;
  • Set clear objectives: ensure everyone (including you) has clear and transparent objectives;
  • Avoid anomalies: don’t throw what money you have at a couple of people you think will leave. It may keep them for the short term, but it will result in more tension and anger;
  • Think of different reward options: certificates of performance just don’t cut it.
  • Giving people extra paid holiday won’t make up for not getting financial rewards, but they will appreciate it;
  • Adopt a year-round performance review strategy: seek to run sessions every quarter where overall organisational performance and individual objectives are discussed;
  • Be accessible: the implications for some people can be serious so be there for them;
  • Don’t turn up with a new sports car; if they are to feel the pain, so should you;
  • Don’t promise what can’t be delivered but ensure the fundamentals that encouraged them to work for you haven’t changed.

Helen Simpson

helen transparent I need to get some bonding and I have looked at all the forms for ATOLs and so on. But are there consultants who can help me fill them in, and if so how much do they cost?

troubleshooters - big A

In short, yes, there are several specialist consultants (some even advertise in Travel Weekly) and they could help you with your application. Charges vary, and you’d need to ask the individuals concerned.

However, you might first want to talk to the Civil Aviation Authority about the ATOL process, and ask them about parts of the form where you don’t understand what’s required. You may find it’s easier than you think, particularly if you’ll be selling fewer than 500 flights a year initially and therefore qualify for a small business ATOL. Call the CAA’s new applicant team on 020-7453 6361; they’ll be willing to give you guidance.

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