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Sticky situations: How does a dental hygienist or dental assistant ask for a raise?


Editor's Note: The following "Sticky Situation" was submitted by Amy Morgan, CEO of the Pride Institute. It is the latest in a string of "Sticky Situations" submitted by the experts at Pride Institute.

Question: The dentist I work for hasn't given me a raise for two years. I feel like I'm doing a great job for him. How do I handle this?

Answer: This is a great question, because compensation is such an important, foundational topic in creating a culture of self-direction, inspiration, and growth!

Before I go into the elements of what an ideal compensation model can and should look like, my first piece of advice has to be on how you bring up this very sensitive subject to your dentist.

Another Sticky Situation: How to handle a screaming match inside the dental practice

Any professional should be able to see their contributions to the practice result in potential merit increases. So you are well within your rights to wonder why there has been no communication on further increases. Communication is always the difficult obstacle that stands in the way of win-win compensation and recognition models that are viable for the practice and the individual employee. Truthfully, it’s easier not to talk about it, which is why two years can fly by with no resolution. To approach the topic:

1. Ask for some quiet time (never confront the doctor with others around or during work hours as this can create a feeling of being surprised and ganged up on) to discuss how you can support the practice and improve your own prospects at the same time.

2. Prepare your opening statement in advance so that it is non-judgmental, non-blameful, positive, and proactive.

Example: “When there is no feedback on performance or communication regarding potential compensation increases, I get frustrated because I feel out of control and unsure as to how I can support the practice’s goals and enhance my own personal viability. How can I help you to make the practice grow while creating an opportunity for a potential salary increase?”

3. Stay curious and positive at all times. Be willing to be flexible in supporting the doctor through his or her obstacles and open to new ideas.

Another Sticky Situation: Should a team member handle the practice's social media?

An ideal compensation model should be simple. The mechanics of the model must be black and white and each individual team member must feel in control of their future. The primary elements are:

1. Compensation must be competitive with what the market is paying

2. Compensation increases must come from increased profitability. Otherwise, it comes from the owner’s pocketbook.

3. Potential increases are earned when a team member demonstrates new skills and results.

Look for more articles coming soon on this very important topic AND if you are interested in further reading, I invite you to read our seminal book: Take Pride in What you Pay – A 4 module series on all aspects of staff compensation.

Another Sticky Situation: How to handle a negative online review of your practice

Have a Sticky Situation you need help with? Contact us at info@prideinstitute.com. Pride Institute offers an array of consulting services, products, and seminars to enhance the lives of dentists, their teams and ultimately their patients. For more information about our services, speak with one of our client services specialists at (800) 925-2600 or visit www.prideinstitute.com.

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