example, I’ve had a front desk employee for about 6 years,
and until now she was getting a raise every year at about the same
time. (I was always reminded about the time for it.)
know, I should not have done it that way, but here I am and I want
to break this pattern…since I was reminded again.
I asked her for an analysis of the production of the past 5 years,
and even though the gross income for the practice increased, production
should I approach this since next week is the end of “another
year”. I would really appreciate if you can give me some pointers.
Thanks, Dr. Forgot the Raise
Thank you very much for your letter. As a matter of fact, I will
be presenting a seminar entitled "Practice Politics:
The Enemy Within" on October 8th and December 6th
in San Diego. The seminar is designed to teach dentists and staff
how to organize themselves so that situations like this one do not
develop. To register email
info@dentalcareerdevelop .com or call 1-877-900-5775.
While it is reasonable that an employee expects to receive a raise
every year in order to keep up with inflation, that does not presume
that they should. It is good business policy to give raises. The
two most popular assessment tools are: 1) did they help to make
money for the business; and 2) is the value of the tasks they perform
important to the overall survival of the business.
First, you must take responsibility for establishing a compensation
policy that applies to one individual and not the whole staff, at
least according to your question. Second, you must take responsibility
for doing as they ask and giving annual raises upon request.
are well aware of their contribution to the business. If they work
hard to make you money for the business, then they will rightfully
expect improved compensation; however, if they do not work hard,
then they will find another way to get what they want. This is only
natural and to be expected, and it is your job to know the truth
about their contribution.
it makes sense that since you have no universal policy, they will
ask for raises, and of course they will ask for it at the same time
every year, just as the economy is evaluated on a year-to-year basis.
However, the economy, just like your business, goes through cycles.
There will be times when keeping pace with inflation is the ethical
thing to do; however, there will be times when the business cannot
keep up with inflation due to other factors.
Because you initiated a personal arrangement, you now find yourself
in a position of feeling obligated. It is important that you understand
that you created the obligation. You created the obligation by not
establishing a company policy and applying it to everyone. Your
decision or lack of decision only encourages the individuals on
your staff to seek out their own arrangement with you which will
only complicate your life.
doctors and dentists like to have these personal relationships
because they feel closer to their staff; however, the trouble
is that the doctor’s need to be a “nice understanding
person” leads one to become the hostage to the employee who
holds the power of approval in their hands.
it makes sense to your brain to suddenly have the employee justify
their request by asking for an analysis of the last 5 years of production,
to their brain you are hedging on your agreement and they
are losing respect for you and in all probability will
become very angry with you.
situation becomes even more complex when you suddenly tie
their compensation to production and productivity. If gross
revenues are up but overall productivity is down, can you reasonably
and ethically attribute those results to this particular employee?
I am sure the employee will say that is not reasonable nor is it
part of our tacit agreement.
suggestion is to create a company employee compensation policy.
You should then announce it at the next team meeting. Since your
front person will be in the meeting, they will understand that you
are talking to them, as well as to everyone, and are halting
your individual arrangement.
will not like this and in all likelihood will express their disappointment,
dismay, and let us not forget their anger. However, as long as you
publicly state your policy and make it equitable
for everyone and eliminate the private deals, they will have little
recourse but to accept the new policy or decide to move on.
this point, it would be very important that you remain vigilant
as to their behavior and attitude. Their interpretation of your
business decision will be different from yours. They will may see
it as a personal insult and become passive-aggressive
in behavior, whereas you will see it as a matter of staying in business
and being the leader of your team.
It is your ability to communicate clearly and behave with consistency
that will establish trust on the part of your staff. This
trust will permit you to lead them through the various business
cycles with an attitude of understanding, commitment, and loyalty.
Your destiny remains in your hands.
Want your issues answered? Ask the firstname.lastname@example.org.