Can I take a pay cut? This and other questions you never thought you’d be asked

31 August 2016 -


Unexpected questions can catch you off guard and leave you flustered, leading to bad decisions and even worse results. So read on for our guide to dealing with the unusual questions that may come from your employees

Guest blogger Clare Greechan

At some point during your life in management, you’ll come across challenging situations. Dealing with unusual or difficult requests from employees is just one of them and, as a manager, it all comes with the territory.

Here Clare Greechan from financial experts Trust Deed Scotland outlines some of the more challenging questions you might face from your employees (and how to go about handling them).

Can I be demoted?

Demotions by edict aren’t unusual. What is more unusual is when an employee themselves directly asks to be sent down the career ladder a notch or two.

There are lots of different reasons a member of your team might want to switch to a more junior role: they might feel it’s more suited to them, they might want more favourable working hours, they might just genuinely feel their role is simply not for them.

In my experience, a request for demotion is no bad thing.

For one thing, your employee is simply being honest with you and honesty is usually a sign of a valuable team member.

For another, it could benefit the company in the long run. A demoted employee should set to their new position with relish - it might make them a more talented and skilled worker.

Can I take a pay cut?

We’ve all considered asking for a pay rise. But a pay cut?

Well, stranger things have happened. If your company is struggling financially, you might have altruistic employees who’d be willing to take a short payment holiday, not receiving their wages for a few months, in order to help the company out.

Other employees might simply feel they’re paid too much and want to be paid something more realistic.

As with a request for demotion, asking for a pay cut should be taken as a sign of an honest employee.

Paying a worker less will obviously help you financially - but it’ll also help build a strong, valuable employee who could remain committed to your business for a long time.

I’ve got some financial problems at the moment. Can you help me?

Some employees like to keep the line between their personal and professional lives firmly chalked out. Others, alternatively, are willing to speak about their problems and ask for support.

I think one of the biggest problems facing employees today is financial difficulties. Average debt per household in the UK is enormous.

Read the news and you’ll see stories of how families and individuals are feeling the pinch. So it wouldn’t be a surprise to have people with debt problems on your team.

While some professions do not recruit people who are going through forms of insolvency, such as a trust deed, it’s a good idea to actively support employees with money problems.

If you currently pay the National Minimum Wage, you could pay the Living Wage, which is designed to better reflect living standards in the UK. If you have an Employee Assistance Programme, point your employee in its direction. And let them know that you're on their side.

Clare Greechan of Trust Deed Scotland has been working in the insolvency industry for 18 years

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