Having a wage increase conversation is one of the hardest conversations you’ll ever have.
Nobody likes talking about money especially when someone is asking you for more of it. But money talks are part of being a clinic owner.
In this blog post we role played a scenario on how to respond when someone asks for a raise but you can’t really afford to give one.
Karen is one of the top clinic leadership experts. Check out how she responds in an unusual but effective way.
Here’s the transcript of the role play.
Emily: Hi Karen, as you know we have talked about this last week but it's kind of coming up on that one year and I would really like a wage increase this is kind of been typical at our Clinic.
Step 1: Get them to sell you on why they deserve a raise
Karen: I appreciate that so why don't you give me your pitch on why you want a wage increase.
Emily: I would like a wage increase because I think that I've been a valuable member of the front desk and team. And its you know at this point it is typical that people get an increase at 1 year and I feel like I've been you know I've done my job and I've been supportive of this team and the cost of living is increasing. So I feel like at this point that because I've shown my consistency and my value here that I would like an increase.
Step 2: Acknowledge them and ask how can you add more value to the clinic?
Karen: Yes you have certainly been a valuable member of the team for sure I'm just curious what your thoughts are Emily with bringing value. So can you give me an example of something you do that brings value in a way of saying increasing patients coming, increasing revenue, or supporting the team.
Emily: I think I'm really good at you know covering my teammates if they're away and being there to support them. I think that you know I'm there answering phones and booking patients in. I want to take on more roles for example I'd love to learn ICDC billing and be able to take that on. So I'd like to take on more roles in the workplace and I think that's the big value that I'm bringing.
Karen: Ok I like that and that you thought about taking on more roles. So taking on that role can you explain how that’s going to help the Clinic grow.
Emily: You mean in terms of the ICBC billing?
Karen: Yes I think everybody aware that it's been tough and it is struggling and were struggling a little bit financially. This is a difficult conversation to have I understand that. It’s difficult from your perspective to have to pitch yourself. And it’s difficult for me to have to talk about the reality.
Which is we don’t have a lot of money for raises right now. We're trying to provide jobs for everybody and we have to be really careful in our expenditures and expenses. And payroll being the highest so if you can convince me how you're going to add value to increase that, that would be awesome.
Emily: yeah I think I can take on more roles. I think that you know I want to learn the ICBC billing which will then take a little bit of the load off the manager. So that she can do her job and focus on the other aspects of her job. I think that's a big piece or maybe can help with inventory as well.
Step 3: Get them to say their expectations
Karen: I like that. I love what you just said. You’re going to help take something off of somebody elses so they can actually work more on their role. So I love that. So let’s just stick with that. I want you to tell me what is your expectation of what kind of raise you are looking for.
Emily: I would like to see a raise around probably $24 an hour going forward.
Step 4: Attach raise to increased role
Karen: okay so it's difficult. So I’m going to have to no for right now to 24 but here's what I want to propose. I want to give you a a small raise today because I want to give you that role and responsibilities of the ICBC. So I’m going to give you a small raise today because I think that's going to take our Clinic to the next level and it's going to help a lot.
So I'm going to do half of that and let's see how 3 months go and then if that’s going well let's revisit it and see if we can get up to that 24 cuz you are valuable I know if I lose you it is going to cost me a lot more. So I do want to keep you. I think you bring value and I love how you pitched taking that on. So I'm going to say no to the 24 but I would say yes to this right now. How does that sound for right now? I know you’re probably disappointed that you are not getting 24 and I understand that but hopefully you can see the reasons why and how we can get there.
Emily: yeah I'm really disappointed I mean I think that I'm worth more than $22 an hour and I think I do provide value in the clinic and that you know that doesn't even keep up with the changing cost of living so that's pretty disappointing.
It’s a difficult situation when your staff asks for a raise, especially when the word "inflation" or "increase in cost of living" comes up. Check out this post.
Step 5: Show Empathy and come back in 24 hours
Karen: You know I totally understand that. I wish I could say yes. I do . I need you to know that. And I want to do that and we are going to work hard to get there. So if you're okay with moving forward or think about it. Let's revisit it in a week and we can talk again. Then hopefully we can move forward.
Emily: I'm okay with talking next week.
Karen: Okay let's talk next week I'll give it some thought. You give it some thought. I'll talk to the other owners and partners and then we'll meet next week. All right?
Check out this post to learn what to say to your staff when asking for a raise and you can't afford it.
To summarize: you want them to pitch why they deserve a raise, how can you add value? What are your expectations for a raise? I’m going to say no to that and yes to half. We can revisit in 30 days.
Now if you don’t want to have these difficult conversations with your front desk. Check out Callhero’s Virtual receptionist.
You’ll get a fully managed Virtual receptionist that’s trained to convert callers into appointments for a fraction of the cost of a full time one. Plus you won't ever have to have these uncomfortable conversations about raises.
1.How to say no to a raise?
Hear them out and explain why you can't give a raise at this time because of a potential recession. And how you want to do everything you can to make sure everyone has a job to come to. But that you would like to revisit in 3 months.
Who is Rick Lau and CallHero?
Rick has built three 10 million dollar healthcare businesses over the past 15 years including a network of 127 clinics with over 1400 employees. He is one of the most sought-after mentors for clinic owners in Canada and USA where he helps owners double, triple, and even quadruple their profits by optimizing their clinic operations using his proven systems and leadership strategies. Plus, he has spent over millions in google and facebook ads during his career.
You can follow him on Instagram