Rasies this year?

I received a e-mail from a friend who owns a garden center back East. I took the name out but here is the e-mail. "I've been trying to do some research on what the standard rates are in our industry and how big of a raise people give.  Have you ever found a discussion of this anywhere?  I'm not active on Linked In, but I thought maybe I should try asking there.  What do you think?

We give raises in June, and are at the point where giving everyone a .50 to $1 an hour will really push everyone very high and we can't afford it.  We've had a very good spring, so I'm thinking bonus with a small raise would be more appropriate.  (Wish I had been a business major!)  (Or experience as a manager somewhere else)."

This is my answer.

"If you cannot afford to give raises, then let the crew know why, and don't give them. We are all in this boat together and if giving raises means we might have to lay you off later then to what use? A one time bonus and a party, BBQ, or something like that might show how much you appreciate their hard work, better than a raise.

Is everyone pulling the same weight? I would concentrate on giving the most valuable people the raises or bonus, and not to the others. The day's of getting a raise just because it's that time of year again is over. It must be performance driven. Yea, we had a great spring, what comes next? The constant drip, drip , drip of money going out. These days I would be happy to have a secure job working for people who care, rather than a 50 cent raise.

I think a bonus based on performance is the way to go this year. That being said, if you have a super valuable person you don't want to loose, then give them a raise. I am sure not everyone deserves the same increase in salary?

It needs to be explained that while we have had a great spring, it follows some tough times and we need to make it up. That means automatic raises are just out.

This is just my 2 cents and not based on any studies.

Let me know what you decide to do. We have worked to hard over the years to just see the profits go to raises that are not affordable. You said it! You cannot afford the raises! So explain it to them, and let the chips fall where they may."

I thought I would post this here, and see if you folks had any suggestions. This is of concern to lot's of garden centers where we have had a great spring, but are trying to make up losses from earlier. Employees often don't see the long view, and wonder why if it was so busy this spring they are not sharing in the (supposed) wealth? What's your opinion?