Thursday Troubleshooter: Employee wants raise or she'll quit! Should manager give it to her?

Should dentist give into demands of employee wanting a raise? She says she'll quit in a week if she doesn't get more money.

Dental Team Wants Raise

QUESTION: I’m the manager of a group practice. A team member has demanded a raise and wants a response within one week or she’ll leave. What should we do?

There are many variables to consider, such as her wage in comparison to the industry, job performance, attitude, skill sets, and practice financial health. She may indeed warrant an increase based on these variables. However, presenting her request as a demand with an ultimatum is of major concern. I have found once an employee starts giving demands and ultimatums, things continue to spiral anytime the person wants something or doesn’t want to do something. She is in essence displaying an adult temper tantrum.

It is important not to let fear of losing the employee lead you to the decision to increase her wage. I would increase her wage only if she is an exceptional employee and you were already considering increasing her wage before the demand. Otherwise, I would not. I have found in most cases employees who demand and give ultimatums are usually not engaged or committed to the practice, and they have performance issues.

However, if she is an exceptional employee and you feel you were negligent for not increasing her salary, I would meet with her and share the following sentiments – “We are very disappointed with how you chose to ask for a salary increase. In the future, any demands with ultimatums will be considered grounds to end our working relationship. We were already considering increasing your salary and have made the decision to do so based on your performance, attitude, etc., and not your demand."

Good luck!

This sounds like a very volatile situation. How long has it been since the employee’s last pay increase, and what, if anything, has this team member done to merit a pay raise? Too often team members think that because they show up at the office and stay on the clock for eight hours they deserve to be rewarded by something other than their paycheck.

There are many areas to think about when considering a pay raise. Does the team member give 100% consistently? Does she work hard and learn new ways to improve the practice's efficiency and increase patient loyalty? What other benefits does the practice offer to team members? Holidays, paid vacations, clothing allowances, medical reimbursements, and 401K plans are all part of a team's compensation package.

If it is decided that a pay increase is merited for this team member, be sure that she understands that this increase is being given because of her performance on the job and not her demand. Also, be sure that she understands that future demands of this nature will not be tolerated and are grounds for immediate termination. It is detrimental to the overall health of the team to let one person dictate the office's pay rate.

These situations, while difficult at the time, are a great opportunity to reevaluate the office policy manual and make sure that the practice's guidelines for reimbursement are clearly stated. This should help eliminate future problems of this nature.

Hope this helps, and all the best to you and your team!

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