What’s Your True Value to the Practice?
The current economy aside, the fact is that many dental employees will walk into their employers’ offices expecting, requesting, and even demanding raises. “I’ve been here a year. I show up on time every day. I do my job. I deserve to make more money.” Unfortunately, too many dental employees are convinced that those are the only criteria they have to meet to receive a pay hike.
I recommend a little different approach to determining whether it’s time to receive that hard earned raise - calculate your true value in the practice by asking yourself a few key questions. What recent problems or critical issues have I resolved? You should have a list documenting your contribution as a team who is focused on finding solutions, not creating problems. What new responsibilities have I taken on since my last raise? Showing up with a smile on your face three out of four days a week is not enough. What have I done to increase practice revenues and/or cut costs or save time? Virtually every employee in the office is a frontline team member. You are responsible for carrying out key systems daily and you should have a good sense of what is working and what could be improved. It’s your job to recommend strategies to improve ineffective systems.
Next, you absolutely must consider the bottom-line financial realities of the dental practice that employs you. For example, if the practice’s current monthly collections are $48,325 per month and team salaries are $9,353 a month, a $2 hourly raise for the dental assistant from $15 to $17 working a 36 hr. week will increase existing salaries to $9,665, which is within the 20% industry benchmark. However, if current monthly collections are $39,000 and existing wages are $9,353 that puts salaries at 24% collections and well above the accepted standard. Meaning, you’ll need to do something to boost revenues before you can expect the doctor to increase expenditures on your behalf.
And there is plenty you can do. The fact is that employee productivity has a huge impact on the profitability of the practice and can directly improve your income potential provided you make one very important commitment: Focus on delivering measurable results daily. Follow these steps to make that happen.
Ultimately, although you may truly be consistently delivering results for your employer, the practice simply may not be able to increase your salary at this time. Squelch the urge to use threats or make demands. Requesting a raise with the attitude "if I don't get it, I'm leaving" will only tell the doctor and team that you are uncompromising and only out for yourself. Be professional, and if your job is worth keeping –you’ll know if it’s not – be willing to better the practice and you’ll likely better yourself as well.
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