Dealing with pay rise demands – from drama to empowerment

This month Chris Barrow, the Dental Business Coach, discusses the best way to respond to pay rise demands.

This month Chris Barrow, the Dental Business Coach, discusses the best way to respond to pay rise demands.

My August correspondence saw a significant trend of clients sharing the news that either individual team members/fee-earners or delegations of such have approached with requests for pay rises to ‘deal with the cost of living crisis’.

Without exception, the clients who have messaged me on this subject have done so from one of the three emotional positions in the Karpman Drama Triangle.

The Persecutor – ‘I’m outraged that the team have the nerve to ask me to pay them more – why should I? I’m already very generous. If they don’t stop this, they will regret it.’

The Rescuer – ‘I feel as if I must pay extra as I cannot afford to lose people when recruitment is so tough right now. And I can sympathise with how difficult it must be to make ends meet at the moment.’

The Victim – ‘I can’t believe they are doing this to me – after everything I’ve done for them. I’ve already given them a pay rise in the last 12 months, I’ve provided extra benefits, and they still treat me like this. How do they expect me to make money out of thin air?

Changing your response

I’ve been investing time in showing my clients how to change their response and reply from the position of the Empowerment Dynamic.

The Challenger – ‘The reality is that, at its current level of profitability, there is no scope for pay rises in the business unless we make changes. We must challenge ourselves as a team to explore ways to improve our performance.’

The Coach – ‘So, what we have to do is look at the only factors that can influence our ability to pay more – and they are productivity and prices. We either have to work extra hours, ethically sell more dentistry in the time that we have, or increase our prices without losing patients.’

The Creator – ‘We have the talent and the power to make changes that will improve profits and fund pay rises – but to do that we will all have to think of ways to improve what we currently do and introduce new ways to work as well. I believe we can do that.’

Here’s the rub: unless we move from drama to empowerment, there is frankly no solution to this problem or any other.

In so far as pay rises are concerned, we must challenge the assumption that money grows on trees, explain what has to change in our businesses to create the profits that will fund pay rises, and then collaborate (with team members and self-employed fee-earners) on innovative solutions and ideas to grow our sales, conversions, treatment modalities and, ultimately, bottom line.

I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of my time in the final four months of this year is going to be spent doing just that.

Catch up on previous Dental Business Coach columns:

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