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First off, if your employees do not believe what you are telling them about pay structures, there is something fundamentally wrong with your relationship with those particular employees. Something will need to be done about that.
That said, there are things that you could do to try to convince the poor performers that the program is real. Of course, if they already do not trust you, they may not believe it.
First, while you have said that you cannot show them the merit pay given to top performers, you did not say anything about having top performers testify. In other words, top performers can, if they wish, tell their coworkers that they have gotten merit pay. They need not say how much, but if they say that the merit pay is real, the poor performers might take them seriously.
Second, you can open the company’s books. You do not have to show the poor performers exact numbers for who got how much. However, if you show them line items in the company budgets or audits for the amounts paid out to top performers, they might be more inclined to believe in the system.
Again, if poor performers have this little trust, there may be a serious problem, but these are two potential ways to try to get them to believe in the merit pay system.
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