Unmesh Pawar replies:
I do hope your colleague reads this. Experts who have researched extensively on compensation say “workplace compensation is not egalitarian”. Most organisations do not make the compensation information public for the simple reason that it doesn’t help anyone but generates negative emotions among staff through constant comparisons. Often, there are legitimate reasons for the difference in compensation between two employees in the same role. But sometimes they may not stack up, in which case, most organisations course-correct it in the next compensation cycle.
This could be a case of lack of context to what this role/position has been hired for and how you make a good fit for it — something that should have been addressed proactively during the recruiting, onboarding stages.Considering that your colleague and you are just six months apart in the organisation, I would suggest both of you should make efforts to bridge the divide at this stage itself. Both of you should consider giving each other time to process a new environment, people, and other expectations. Here are some suggestions that might help:
Engage informally and talk it out: Have a chat over coffee and exchange brief experiences on the initial days in the organisation, past experiences and move on to non-workrelated conversations like common hobbies. If you do share common interests or areas where you could help each other, please try doing so, since this could help in bringing about behavioural changes at work. Put your best foot forward and focus on the positives. With this, both of you may begin to appreciate and empathise with each other’s situation, which is key for any working professional to develop trust and comfort. Be conscious of not tilting the conversation towards ‘him v/s you’. It is imperative for you to recognise that your colleague has had a six-month headstart compared to you in the organisation. Your colleague’s knowledge and experience could help you navigate the organisation’s processes and protocols with ease.
Develop ‘empathy quotient’: Work your way through empathy. Understand his story and share yours, to the extent you are comfortable. Keep communication channels open and be forgiving of your colleague’s behaviour for your own sake, so that you are in a better position to focus on your job.
Talk to your manager or HR: If you are unable to make peace after following the earlier two suggestions, then you could probably seek coaching or advice from your manager or HR on how best this situation could be addressed. While your anxiety is understandable, do your best to stay clear-headed.
Focus on the value you bring in, rather than your colleague’s behaviour: While I understand this is easier said than done, please remember that any organisation will value you for your contributions rather than your controversies.
Build your circle of influence beyond this colleague: While you may have to keep it cordial with your colleague since the differences should ideally not come in the way of your work, over a period, find and build on your circle of trusted colleagues who can help you stay cheerful and maintain your sanity at work.
To sum up, try not to get consumed by your colleague’s behaviour. Try your best to bridge the divide — if that works, it would be beneficial for both of you. But if the relationship continues to be strained, then move on and pay attention on adding value to your role. Stay positive.
(Unmesh Pawar is partner and head — people, performance & culture at KPMG in India)
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