My hygienists have banded together and asked me for raises that I think are extreme. We only work 7 hours a day and they have a hygiene assistant to help them. They continually demand more and more from me because they compare their salaries to others who work 8 hours per day. They don’t want to work more hours; they just want larger salaries without understanding this is not going to be affordable for the practice.
A. G, Indiana
Many dentists react with a meld of horror, dismay or resignation to the salary requests made by their employees. When they walk into salary negotiations, their internal dialogue is: “How do I protect myself from these greedy employees with outrageous demands that will surely bankrupt me?”
We are all conditioned to believe that the more you give to someone, the less you have for yourself. But what if we thought bigger and got out of this competition mindset? What would happen if you approached the salary conversation with these questions:
- How can I help you get more of what you want so that we both benefit?
- How can you help me be able to afford this new salary amount?
- What else would help you feel good about working in our practice?
These questions show that you want to collaborate with the employee, not compete with them. It puts the onus on the employee to help solve this issue. You may learn that the request for more money really masked a desire for personal recognition and appreciation. And if you apply Horizontal Thinking, together you might devise a creative solution to the “I want more money” problem.