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11.14.08 Issue #349 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Belle DuCharme CDPMA
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So You Think You Deserve A Raise?

It is time for your salary review and you’re thinking, “I deserve a raise.” Some of us have a sense of entitlement because we have been at the job for a year or longer and a raise is expected yearly. Is working in your practice a longevity contest? Has having you there really been a benefit to the practice? You may be thinking any of the following:

  • Living expenses, such as food and gas, are going up. Let’s face it—everything is going up, so why not my income? You should realize that your personal needs are not usually a consideration for running a business in the black. Overall operational costs are going up for your employer, including fuel to transport supplies and precious metals for restorations to name just two.
  • I am a Registered or Certified professional. Your credentials represent your education and licensing, which are requirements to legally perform your job duties. This again does not warrant a raise.
  • Mary Jane, my best friend, works for XYZ Dental and she is making more money than I do. Better to look at the total package before you decide that the grass is greener on the other side of the highway. How about the working environment? Is the team friendly? Does the doctor promote personal and professional growth? It may not be such a good idea to give up those important things in lieu of a dollar an hour raise.
  • I am a team player. This is admirable and it certainly contributes to a positive environment, but it is not a reason for a salary raise. It is expected that the team work together for the betterment of the practice and the patients.

The true reason for anticipating a salary increase rests on your…


To talk to your employer about a raise:

Focus on how you meet—and exceed—your job description.

Talk about people, things, events and deeds of the job. You better have a good attendance record and get your work done on a timely basis every day. Provide evidence that you are willing to take the time to train or direct new employees in their positions. Provide evidence that you love your work and take the time to become better educated and informed in the latest technology and other skills that will improve the practice and communication with patients. Don’t count on the boss keeping score. Think of a situation in which you did something special to improve. For example, you did some research to find a better buy on dental supplies and you are keeping the dental supply budget at 5%, or you are tracking monthly production goals and are working to increase growth by 15% a year. If you find the practice is in decline, then make a note that you are going to see how to turn things around with new ideas to market the practice. If your job description includes calling overdue and unscheduled patients, keep a record of the calls and the results. If your position includes treatment presentations, track the success of the presentations.

Make a list of highlights of your accomplishments during the preceding year. Compare that with your original job description. Have you exceeded your job description? (Without a written job description there isn’t a way to measure your job performance and accountability.)

Is patient flow in the clinical area better and smoother since you joined the practice? In what ways have you grown or improved your job skills? For instance, if you are a Business Coordinator, have you collected overdue monies and reduced AR to less than 10% in the 90 days past due column?

Write down the key points and you will be more prepared and confident.

Dress for success. Wear business attire that says you are a professional, including a nice suit jacket. Make sure your hair is neat and don’t wear any dangly earrings that distract.

Schedule an appointment and make sure your employer has enough time without being rushed. Don’t schedule between patients or at the end of a tiring day.

Consider your body language. Sit up straight, with your feet flat on floor and eyes straight ahead and level with the doctor’s eyes. Don’t slouch, cross your legs or cross your arms in front of your chest. Lean forward toward the doctor and engage in active listening as you make your presentation.

Thank your employer for taking the time to meet with you. If the decision for the raise is not reached at that moment, cordially ask for another appointment and define the actions you must take to prepare for the next meeting. Consider the economic situation of the country and your own community at present. Cost of living increases are not a given right now and if you can hold on until things improve, it would be a wise choice.

For more information about McKenzie Management’s Advanced Training courses, email, call 1-877-777-6151 or visit our website at

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