Stressed About Employee Salaries?

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Sharyn is a Scrooge


Dear Sharyn

Last week, I wrote an article, The Holiday Gift Dilemma, about how to make the mandatory office cash bonus more interactive and meaningful. But since then, a few of my clients have asked additional questions about what amount of money they should give their team members for their holiday gift. So, this Ask Sharyn responds to everyone’s joint confusion: How much cash should I give my team at Christmas?

Every Dentist In the USA

Dear ED in USA

Each year dentists face the holiday season with some dread because they know they are expected to give their team some sort of holiday “gift.” Frankly, this feels less like a voluntary expression of appreciation and more like a pay-off to prevent staff resentment, but that is another story.  My clients have told me they give team members from $500 – $2,400. But is this average? So, I went to Facebook and asked a group of random dentists what they do for the holidays. Many said they offer a week’s salary to each person. Others offer $200-$300 dollars but provide a staff event. Others say they buy gifts in this range and one said the amount depended on how well the practice did.

So, the final choice has to reflect your values and philosophy. I would add some caveats. If you give a significant cash gift, make sure you include this amount when you show your employee’s their salaries for the year. Most team members will forget this “extra” $1,000 when they compare their salaries to others. Also, give up the hope that your employees will express more gratitude and loyalty if you increase the cash size. Unfortunately, many dental employees feel entitled to these gifts, to the degree that they won’t necessarily thank you and will feel resentful if you reduce this amount in the future. And finally, cash alone will never substitute for a good relationship.  I suggest you pay more attention to your on-going connections with your employees rather than the amount in the check at the end of the year.

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Inspired Us to Dream Bigger, and it Works

“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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