Director's Message: 'I got a $5 an hour pay raise!'

The quote in the headline was a post in a popular Facebook group for dental hygienists. Naturally, it received a lot of “likes” and comments. I am sharing this because one of the comments asked the hygienist who received the raise, “Why?” Why did she receive a five-dollar-an-hour pay raise?

Feb 22nd, 2016
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The quote in the headline was a post in a popular Facebook group for dental hygienists. Naturally, it received a lot of “likes” and comments. I am sharing this because one of the comments asked the hygienist who received the pay raise, “Why?” Why did she receive a five-dollar-an-hour pay raise? In addition, the subsequent comments intrigued the heck out of me. Basically, the dental hygienist had no idea why she received a raise.

She did share that the doctor and his wife are “so nice” and she “hadn’t received an increase in a few years.” Of course, she believes she “deserves” it (lots of public endorsements). When the doctor gave her a raise, he only told her that he “really appreciates” her and asked her to work another day. The story continues that she cannot work the extra shift. Yet in her current euphoric state, she assures the doctor that she would help “find” another hygienist to pick up the added day.

Anyone else sees yellow or red warning flags in this situation? Don’t we know as professionals what the performance measures are in which we are being evaluated?

The decision about raises should include aspects of your demonstrated knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA). As a re-do, this would have been a wonderful opportunity to share with his hygienist the KSAs the doctor values (so they can be captured and repeated.) Plus, if the hygienist knew exactly what KSAs that the doctor was looking for, she is better prepared to find another hygienist with similar strengths.

Moreover, we know that the halo effect of a salary increase is fleeting. What is not fleeting is tying pay and performance together. Her dentist should communicate a clear vision of her goals and responsibilities, and provide her with sufficient change feedback about her performance. She should determine what specific clinical skills the dentist observed that influenced the raise. Is it that she consistently provides excellent patient service, knows her critical numbers, and or initiates new projects? Does she communicate positively with colleagues, help to resolve patients’ concerns, help others, problem solve, participant in team meetings? Does he even know the strengths she brings to her position?

Hygienists’ efforts must be acknowledged and valued. As hygienists, we must take the “mystery” out of raises by identifying your competencies from your job description and sitting down with your employer to set performance goals and timelines. That way, when the salary conversations come up, you will be able to have a conversation based on the goals defined, which eliminates the “I do not know, he is just nice” reply.

Regards,
Kristine Hodsdon
RDH eVillage, Director

Kristine Hodsdon RDH, MSEC is the founder of Dental Influencers Inc. and for the past 10 years has been the editorial director of PennWell’s RDH eVillage e-newsletter. She provides practice management consultin, executive coaching, and team training so busy professionals can easily create profitable systems that serve more clients. Visit kristineahodsdon.com with inquiries regarding her coaching and CE programs.

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