28Mar

Raising the Heavy Topic of Compensation

You work hard in your allied health job every day, and sometimes you might feel like your compensation doesn’t reflect your workload and achievements. It might be time to ask for a raise. From your employer’s perspective, a raise is recognition that you are now contributing at a higher level than when your salary was set.

Many people get nervous about asking for a raise; however, you should know that it is normal to ask! If your request is in sync with the market for your position, and you can demonstrate how you add value to your workplace then your request will not come off as entitled. On the contrary, if your work has been subpar, and you have been making a lot of mistakes, a request for a raise isn’t likely to go over well.

Something that might ease your nerves when asking your employer to revisit your compensation is to be prepared and have a plan. Here are some things to keep in mind asking for a raise.

Prior to asking

Consider your strategy

The best strategy is to focus on why you deserve a raise, not why you need one. Before you can convince your boss, you need to believe that you deserve it. People often ask for a raise because of increasing costs in their lives; however, employers give raises based on performance. Everyone wants to make more money but bringing up personal reasons like your summer vacation or rent increase isn’t the best way to go about it. Stick to discussing your performance and value to the organization.

Have a conversation

Before asking your manager for a raise, consider having an open and honest conversation with them. Assess your own performance and express that you want to make sure you are doing everything you can to set yourself up for success in your position. Ask how you can improve in your current role and what you can do to exceed.

Implement the feedback so you’re on track when it is time to ask. If you are exceeding expectations and taking on more than is expected of you, be proactive and communicate your accomplishments to your manager along the way. This way, when it’s time to ask for a raise, they will already know you deserve it.

Gain additional skills

One way to show your value to your organization is to gain additional skills that will improve patient care or the service that you provide, (which will ultimately improve your employers bottom line.) You can build your job competencies through training, continuing education, and certification. A good example of this is the AMT REACH Certificate Program. These individual courses offer training in a specific subject matter such as ECG, Point-Of-Care Testing or Immunization. Being able to show your employer that you gained additional training, earned a certificate, and can use your knowledge on the job is a great way to demonstrate your increased value as a multi-skilled professional.

Consider the timing

Some employers will revisit your salary every year, usually around performance review time. Prepare for this by having a conversation with your manager as mentioned above.

If your organization doesn’t have a set review time, you will need to figure out when to ask. In general, if it’s been more than a year since your last salary increase, and if your work has been exceptional during that time, it’s reasonable to ask to revisit your pay. If your salary has already been increased in the last 12 months, expecting another one so soon generally isn’t realistic. Use that time to work on exceeding expectations in your position so when the year mark does come around, you have plenty of evidence as to why you deserve a raise.

Preparing to ask

Do your research

We would all like to be making a million dollars, but that’s obviously not a reasonable number for an allied healthcare job. Before a salary negotiation, do your research to determine your value. Making a request with reasonable and realistic expectations will help you succeed.

Look at salary trends for professionals in your geographic area with similar job titles, qualifications and responsibilities. Use websites like PayScaleGlassdoor and Salary.com to find out the market rate for your role.

Being prepared with this information shows you put a lot of thought into your request. It will help you back up your number with your research. It is also helps to know general raise statistics, such as the average raise is between one and five percent.

Know your demonstrated value

Be prepared to highlight your value to the organization. Doing a great job and working a lot of hours isn’t always enough to warrant a promotion or raise. You want to be able to demonstrate that you have taken on additional responsibilities as well as provide specific details about your strengths and accomplishments.

Think about what you do that goes above and beyond your job title. Do you train new employees or organize the workplace to make things run more smoothly? Have you taken on new responsibilities?

Prepare examples of things you have worked on that have positively impacted the practice. If you’ve received encouraging feedback from colleagues, prepare to share that with your manager as well. These are not only good indicators of your contributions but also of your future potential.

Think about the future

Most managers value loyalty. Talk about how much you like working for your manager and for the organization. Talk about what you want to work towards in the future and how you plan to continue supporting your workplace.  But only talk about this if you are being truthful. If you plan to start looking for another job, don’t mention your future at your current one.

Practice and anticipate questions

It may seem awkward to talk to yourself in the mirror, but conversations like this one usually go better if you rehearse what you want to say. Also, consider the many possible responses you may get and how you will address these responses. By preparing in this way, you will have more confidence and the actual conversation will be easier.

The ask

Choose your timing carefully

Be intentional about the best time to talk to your manager. Don’t ask when they are having a bad day or are nervous about impending budget cuts. Consider approaching your boss on a day that isn’t too busy and be sure to ask whether it’s a good time to talk. They’re more likely to be receptive if they are prepared to see you.

What to say

You don’t need a detailed presentation that will take hours when you are asking for a raise. Make your request brief. Some things you can touch on are:

  • Why you think you have earned a raise based on how you have improved or exceeded expectations since your rate increase.
  • How you add value to your team and the organization.
  • New skills, training or certification acquired.
  • The market value of your job and salary trends for your geographic area.
  • How much of a raise you would like or the number you have in mind.

If you know your boss will need to get your raise approved by a superior, make it easier by leaving them with a short list of key points.

The answer

“Maybe”

If your boss says they will think about it, or get back to you, that is OK! Many managers won’t say yes on the spot. If you do get a maybe, ask what the next steps are, such as when you should follow-up.

“No”

There are many reasons a manager might say no to your request for a raise.

Performance

If the raise is denied based on performance, ask your manager what they think it would take for you to earn a raise in the next six months to a year. Don’t plan on asking again unless you have met your goals. And wait until the end of the timeframe discussed.

Budget

If the raise was denied based on budgetary reasons, this doesn’t have to be the end of your negotiation. Some organizations can consider an alternative. Brainstorm what your employer can offer, such as covering the cost of a certification or training, education to gain CE to maintain your credential, or a more flexible schedule.

Industry Limitations

It is important to recognize industry limitations. If the raise was denied because you are at the top of the range for your position, consider attaining additional certification or education to bump you up to the next level. For example, if you are a Registered Medical Assistant, consider testing to become a Registered Phlebotomy Technician. You could also consider earning a certificate in one or more specialties through the REACH Certificate Program mentioned earlier.

Regardless of what the answer to your request was, going through this process will help you learn to advocate for yourself and understand and appreciate your worth. It also shows you are assertive, interested in staying in your job, and looking to advance. Even if you don’t get the raise, your request may encourage your supervisor to think about what it will take to keep you happy.

 

Not ready to ask for a raise?

You can use these same strategies to ask your employer to cover the costs for an additional certification or training or to cover the cost of maintaining your certification that is required for your job. And the thinking and planning behind good negotiation skills can be used off work hours in your personal life as well.

Most importantly, your value as a certified allied health professional goes well beyond your paycheck. Every day you make a difference in the well-being of your patients. And that’s priceless.

 

Sources:

Gross, Elana Lyn (2016, June 27). 8 Manager Share The Best Way To Ask For A Raise (And Get It). Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/elanagross/2016/06/27/8-managers-share-the-best-way-to-ask-for-a-raise-and-get-it/#6c4c8cd174ff

Botonakis, Celeste (2012, December 5). Tips for Medical Assistants To Increase Their Salary. Retrieved from https://nursingassistantguides.com/2012/tips-for-medical-assistants-to-increase-their-salary/

Dorn, Barry C.; McNulty, Erin (2018, August 10). 3 Essentials For Negotiating Your Salary. Retrieved from https://www.healthecareers.com/article/salary/3-essentials-for-negotiating-your-salary

Malugani, Megan. Negotiate a Raise in Healthcare. Retrieved from https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/negotiate-a-raise-in-healthcare

Green, Allison (2019, March 12). How to Ask for a Raise. Retrieved from https://www.thecut.com/article/how-to-ask-for-a-raise.html

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