The seven most dreaded words a dentist hears during a workday are: “May I speak with you after work?” Does this mean the employee is quitting, needs maternity leave, or wants a raise? Whatever the situation, the doctor hopes they will handle it well.
For the employee who feels the need to ask for a raise, it often takes days or weeks to muster up the courage to ASK! With the slower economy of the past few years, raises have been few and far between. Some dental employees have not had a raise in two or three years yet they feel they are working harder than ever to maintain practice goals. They report going above and beyond the call of duty to keep the schedule full and to work in emergencies.
The best way to ask for a raise is to keep a record of the date of the last increase in pay along with the history of all you have personally done for the patients, practice, and coworkers since your last raise. What CE or online courses have you taken? What above-the-call-of-duty projects have you done recently? Examples might including: volunteering for community activity/service which promoted the practice; working on the marketing committee which met during lunch six times in the past six months; developing on one’s own time the in-school program for elementary schools; and/or participating in the reactivation process of inactive patients. You might say, “I personally called forty-five patients and rescheduled seventeen of them as well as getting four new family members by asking about family members who might not be seeing a dentist.“ Dentists are busy taking care of patients and running a business, so they are often NOT thinking about someone’s last pay raise nor what each employee has done for the practice since that pay raise. Don’t go to your doctor with the “I-need-a-raise-because-I-DESERVE-it” attitude. Go with an attitude of gratitude and show your personal value to the practice. Does this guarantee a raise? No, but it greatly increases your chance of its being considered. It also lets your employer know you are not only assertive but you value yourself.
Linda Miles, CSP, CMC, is Founder of Miles and Associates & The Speaking Consulting Network. She is enjoying retirement from a busy consulting career.