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How To Respond To A Team Member Asking For A Raise

Have you had a team member ask for a raise? Yes we know, your favorite part of practice ownership. And it probably happens with some frequency. How do you respond?

Assuming you want to retain this individual, here are some suggested steps:

  1. Acknowledge the important contributions this team member is making to the practice. Don’t allow this to be an instant tug of war, creating tension between you and your team member. That tension will strain a positive office culture. And a strong culture is vital to any successful dental office.
     
  2. Let the individual know you’ll give it some important thought, look into market rates, and get back to them. You don’t have to answer immediately.
     
  3. Once you’ve evaluated the market rates, along with your ability to replace this individual if needed, get back to them with a response within one week.
     
  4. If you decide to give them a raise, it SHOULD come with strings attached. View the moment as an opportunity, rather than a burden. You can’t give a raise simply because they want it or because the earth went around the sun one more time. A sample response might be: “Susan, I’ve put some thought into this and I think the practice can support a $1.50 hour raise. However, for this to happen, I need to rely on you to help collect more from the patient at the time of visit. As you know, this has a been an ongoing challenge. Let’s set a goal on this together and revisit after two months. If we’ve seen improvement, then it only makes sense to give you this raise for having improved this part of the practice.”


A strong leader will have a systematic process of giving professional reviews and pay rate adjustments. By doing so, the doctor will prevent most “one-off” requests for pay increases. However, because you live in the real world, you’ll still have to address them from time to time.

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