How to Ask for a Raise If You Are a Healthcare Employee (and Even If You’re Not One!) :-)

Not many people would turn down extra money. Asking for a raise can be hard, but it never hurts to let your employer know you want a little more money.  The worst they can say is no.  If you’re thinking of asking for a raise, here are a few things to think about:

In an atmosphere of tight budgets and low unemployment, the thought of asking your manager for a raise can make you feel worried and stressed out. You might wonder what the response might be, and if the response is no, you might wonder what the reason might be. Although you might feel stressed about asking for a salary increase and the reaction you might receive, the high cost of onboarding new hires coupled with a limited available workforce helps motivate companies to reward employees who know how to ask for what they want. Before you ask for a raise, however, there are a few steps you should take to prepare yourself, to increase the likelihood that the answer might be a “Yes” instead of a “No.”

Here are five steps to help you prepare to ask for a raise:

Step 1: Do your homework first.

Step 2: Know how much you are worth in terms of salary.

Step 3: Come prepared with facts and figures.

Step 4: Find the right person to ask.

Step 5: Put your request in writing and include documents that support giving you a salary increase.

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Step 1: Do Your Homework

Whether you work in the healthcare setting or not, some things are consistent in terms of an employer’s mindset. Every employer wants to keep employees who are skilled and who do their job well. Most employers do not want to deal with high employee turnover and constantly having to train new employees because the employees who are already trained and working up to speed choose to leave the company due to low pay. Companies realize that employees expect annual raises, regardless of the type of work they do and the area of the company, or the healthcare setting, that they work in. So the first step is to do your homework. Know what your employer’s policies are in terms of how and when they choose to give raises. The company may have a clearly defined merit system that they use to determine your rate of pay, based on your job, length of employment, and your level of responsibility, especially if you work in a hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office. So the first step is to know your employer’s policy in terms of pay increases if the policies are not spelled out in the employee handbook.

Also, do some research online to determine the average rate of pay for other employees who work in the same area, who have the same position, and who have the same level of responsibility that you have. Join online discussion boards that pertain to your area of healthcare, or pertain to the area that you work in if it is outside of healthcare. Post questions about the average salary for your field on the discussion boards. Remember that geography is also factor in terms of your salary. For example, if you work as a certified nursing assistant in Louisville, Kentucky, for example, you may be paid more, or less, than a certified nursing assistant who works in Los Angeles, California, and who performs the same duties that you have. It all depends on the facility, patient population, and the number of skilled workers available. A registered nurse will be paid more for higher patient acuity positions, professional certifications, and for his or her length of experience, than a new nursing school graduate.

Step 2: Know How Much You Are Worth in Terms of Salary

There’s a lot of information available on how to evaluate your pay. Check out different websites to come up with a number to ask for.  Meeting metrics and getting extra training makes you more valuable, so factor that in as well. A good rule of thumb is to ask for 10% to 20% more than what you currently make. Above all else, keep in mind that your worth in terms of your salary does not reflect your worth as in individual. You are always worth more as an individual than you are in terms of your salary, past, present, or future, so don’t confuse the individual worth with salary worth when you are trying to calculate your worth in terms of compensation.

Step 3: Come Prepared with Facts and Figures

Highlight Your Training. When you start to negotiate your raise, come prepared with facts and figures. Start by highlighting your training. If necessary, get more training in certain areas of healthcare, or in the field that you work in if it is not related to healthcare. Remember that you can make a stronger case to support the argument that you need more money when you can say that you have specialized training in a particular area, especially if it is important to be able to do your job well. Extra courses or certifications make you a more valuable employee and spotlight your accomplishments.  Make sure your employer knows about everything you’ve accomplished, both in the workplace and in terms of your training. Be prepared to discuss your current skills and commitment to long-term professional development. Stay realistic about your job potential and your job performance, but don’t undervalue yourself in the process.

Highlight your workplace achievements. You probably already know what metrics your company is measuring you on.  For nurses, it may be seeing patients in a given time frame.  If you’re a medical coder, you normally must code a certain number of charts per day, while maintaining a certain quality standard, usually 95% or above. Regardless of what the metrics are, you’ll want to highlight positive stats and excellent quality during your negotiation.  If you’re constantly meeting or exceeding goals, you’ve proven that you’re a valuable employee.  That gives you a good case for a salary increase. Cite your most recent positive evaluation, audit scores, and letters of commendation, as well as thank you notes from patients, families, and peers. Be ready to discuss any previously challenging areas of your job where you have improved, and show how you take criticism as a constructive way to raise your customer service abilities and to better your peer relationships. 

Highlight your flexibility. When you negotiate your salary, remember to include issues that don’t appear to be related to salary at first glance, such as the schedule are dyou are willing to work and your level of flexibility. If you are willing to work a shift that no one else wants, if you are willing to perform a task that no one else wants to perform, if you are willing to make personal accommodations in your own life to make sure that the job gets done on time, then mention these things during your salary negotiations. This underscores the fact that you deserve a raise.

Highlight what you’ve done in terms of dollars and cents. If your contributions to the company, or the healthcare organization that you work for, resulted in increased revenue for the organization and improved their bottom line because you met or exceeded the job expectation, especially in terms of exceeding a certain quota, remember to mention this during your discussions about your salary increase.

Step 4: Find the Right Person to Ask

Your direct manager may not have the power to increase your salary, even if they feel you deserve it.  Since different companies have different policies and procedures, it can be hard to find the right person to talk to when it comes to asking for your salary increase. Other circumstances may also intervene; you might know the right person to ask, but they may be unavailable. The person may be on vacation, or they may be in meetings off and on during the day, or when you call to schedule some time to talk about getting a raise, you may get their voice mail or they may not respond to your email right away. As a result, it may take some time to reach the person you need to speak to. Don’t let this hold you back. Be persistent. Try another route if necessary. Speak to another person in the chain of command who can contact the person you need to speak to more quickly, and who they normally respond to more quickly. Don’t give up. If all else fails, discuss how to go about getting a raise with your supervisor or HR team, and see if they have any suggestions on an alternate route you can take, and go from there.

When you ask for your raise, be professional, just like you were during your interview. If your immediate supervisor is the person who has the power to give you a raise, then speak with them. Remember that even if you have a friendly relationship with your supervisor, you don’t want to have a casual laid back attitude when it comes to asking for your raise. Before you reach out to your supervisor for a face-to-face meeting to discuss your raise, you’ll want to gather your supporting information, consider your job skills, your past evaluations, leadership style, and peer relationships. If you are a healthcare employee, your professional approach won’t just be appreciated, it will be valued, respected, and, most of all, expected. 

Step 5: Put Your Request in Writing and Include Supporting Documents

When you sit down to negotiate salary, bring a letter of request for a salary increase with you to your meeting, and be sure to include supporting documentation. Or you can send it by email if you are not speaking with your manager face to face. Your letter of request should be as specific and as detailed as possible, and should not be an emotional or personal plea for a pay increase. Your letter should echo any statements that you make in terms of why you feel you deserve a raise. This is important because your letter will become a permanent part of your employee record, and it will substantiate your verbal request to everyone involved in making the decision about whether to give you a raise. Supporting documents should include emails from satisfied clients and any other written acknowledgements of the value of the work that you do for the company, or the healthcare organization that you work with.

If you’re not getting any traction when you ask for an increase, and you work in the healthcare setting, you might want to sharpen your skillset through training.  Take a look at some Avidity courses here that might help make you a more valuable employee.

Conclusion

In conclusion, remember that it’s never easy to ask for a raise, whether you work in healthcare or outside of the field of healthcare. But with a little time, planning, forethought, self-promotion, and flexibility you can negotiate with confidence and increase the likelihood that you will get the raise you want.

For more informative articles, visit the Avidity Medical Design blog.

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