Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2015 07 Employee Review 1

Tuesday Tip from Pride Institute: Dental employees ask, What’s in it for me, a salary increase?

July 7, 2015
Dental team members may not realize that their true compensation includes benefits and bonuses. However, any professional should be able to see his or her contributions to the practice result in merit increases.

This is a great question, especially in regard to compensation. Why? Because compensation is an important, foundational topic that helps create a culture of self-direction, inspiration, and growth.

All too often I hear from team members who say, “I haven’t had an increase in over two years.” This might be their perception as they may have had an increase in benefits, or shared significantly in a profit sharing plan, or even been given a bonus, but their perception counts. So how do you effectively communicate with your team members regarding their compensation?

Any professional should be able to see his or her contributions to the practice result in merit increases. Communication is often the obstacle that stands in the way of compensation and recognition that is viable for the practice and each employee. Truthfully, it’s generally easier not to talk about it, which is why two years can fly by with no resolution. During the downturn in the economy, it’s even more difficult to discuss when everyone, including the doctor, feels the crunch, and there’s no increase in collections from the previous year.

An ideal compensation model should be simple. The mechanics of the model must be black and white, and each team member must feel in control of their future. A well-designed compensation model that team members understand makes it easy to approach the topic each year. The primary elements are:

1. Compensation must be competitive with what the market is paying.
2. Compensation increases must come from increased profitability, otherwise it comes from the owner’s pocketbook.
3. Potential increases are earned when a team member demonstrates new skills and gets results.

Here are five basic steps to the salary review portion:

1. Ask for some quiet time with the employee. An hour should suffice.
2. Be prepared for this meeting.
a. Have a reconciled accounting of the employee’s current pay including all benefits. Note that per hour salary is significantly impacted by all the benefits someone receives during the year. Make sure employees are comparing apples to apples when talking to their friends about their hourly wage, (and you know they do).
b. Have the job description in hand to review.
c. Have your notes from the person’s previous growth conferences (hopefully you had this meeting at least six to eight months ago) as to what the team member agreed to contribute to the practice’s growth.
3. Discuss the success of the practice, represented by an increase in collections over the previous year.
4. What were the person’s successes that helped contribute to the success of the practice? If the person is a “star performer,” then reward him or her. If the team member has not contributed, then certainly do not reward the person in the same way as your star performers. (This is where the across-the-board 3% cost of living raise falls short in motivating anyone and can actually demotivate your stars.)
5. Share with the team member your reconciled report of his or her current compensation and what you are prepared to offer for the coming year.

If you’re interested in further reading and seeing the calculations and reconciliation forms, I invite you to read our seminal book, “Take Pride in What you Pay,” a four-module series on all aspects of staff compensation, with an accompanying CD.

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Tuesday Tips from Pride Institute are provided weekly on their Facebook page as well as in this column in DentistryIQ. To ensure you don’t miss any of Pride Institute’s proven methods to take your practice to the next level, visit, and like them on Facebook.