Stressed About Employee Salaries?

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My Associate Wants a Raise


Dear Sharyn,

I have an associate who I hope will move onto the partnership path. She’s worked with me for about eight months and she’s already renegotiated her salary with me so that she can make more. Last week I did salary reviews with the team and most got raises.  She approached me a day later and asked if I would agree to pay all her lab fees instead of the 50% we agreed to in her contract.  I don’t know if this is reasonable or how to answer this. I do feel resentful that she asked for this raise, especially when staff salaries and costs have risen so dramatically.

L.H., CA

Dear L.H,

Your associate is approaching her compensation request like an employee, but it would be better for her if she began thinking like a business partner.   While it’s understandable that she may want a greater take-home salary this year simply to stay even with inflation, it’s generally not a compelling argument to say I want a raise because I want a raise.  The philosophy should be that employees earn an increased investment from the practice when they contribute more.   Additionally, all raises must be affordable for the practice – they can’t undercut your salary or business goals.

If this associate wants to be your business partner, she needs to make her case as if she were already were and show you how this change in her compensation makes fiscal sense for the practice.  How will waiving her lab fees affect the practice’s profitability? What is the ROI for you as the practice owner if this change happens?  Alternatively, if she wants to make more money, what can she do differently so that her production and collections increase and this raise is affordable?

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“As an Office Manager, I’ve seen a great difference in my practice since starting with Sharyn. Three years ago our staff was in turmoil with a lot of infighting and gossip and some jealousy directed towards me.

I had given up because everything I did was judged. Now I have learned to have more one-to-one communication and by being more vulnerable with individuals I found my leadership voice. As a team, we’re all focused on the same goals.

Last year, in August we produced $88,000. This year we’re on track to produce $111,000 this month. I know it’s because we learned how to follow through with patients and communicate our expectations while building our systems.

Sharyn has gotten us out of our comfort zone and inspired us to dream bigger and it works.”

–Sharon St Pierre, Sperbeck Dental Care

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