If you’re a dental hygienist and you think you deserve a raise, odds are you probably do, writes Carly Scala, RDH, in her DentistryIQ article “The right to ask for a raise: A hygienist’s self-review can initiate a pay review.”
“Putting up with the situations that hygienists deal with day in and day out Putting up with the situations that hygienists deal with day in and day out (while totally loving helping people overcome said situations) is exhausting,” she writes. “Sticking with one employer through the good days and bad days is tough.”
Scala knows hygienists deserve more pay because of the things they put up with on a daily basis, however, at the end of the day it’s still a business, and a business should reward stellar employees with merit increases and recognition.
And the key to that recognition, she says, is outlined in the categories of:
- Patient happiness
- Personal investment
- Team building
Below, Scala breaks down these categories and spells out what hygienists should be keeping tabs on when making their case for a raise.
“Production is significant,” she writes. “Somewhere, sometime, someone said a hygienist should be getting paid 33% of his or her hygiene production. Where are you on this spectrum?”
Scala writes that you should consider these questions:
- Are you trying to grow production by implementing a strict perio program, or are you stagnant?
- Are you offering fresh ideas to make patients find joy in hygiene so they schedule production?
- Are you offering the adjuncts you use on yourself to patients?
Because there’s nothing better for business than happy customers, having patients submit reviews to your boss is a great way for him or her to learn how significant you are to the dentistry.
Scala created what she calls Smile Cards, which she gives to her patients to encourage them to leave a review on social media pages such as Yelp, Google and Facebook.
“Incorporate your positive reviews into your potential wage growth,” she writes. “Many times, these positive reviews say, ‘Ashley is the reason I keep coming back to ABC Dental!’ This lets your boss know you are worth investing in.”
Scala recommends hygienists show that, although the dentistry they work at isn’t their business, they want it to succeed.
Investing in the dentistry is making sure no one needs anything before you leave for the day instead of running out the door the second your last patient is out of the chair. It means showing up early and rarely calling off of work.
“You don’t need to pick up shifts for others to deserve a raise, but things like that don’t go unnoticed,” she writes. “Having a career should mean there is an effort on your part to make it a better place to be every day. It is not just the CEO’s job to have a successful company. We should all be invested.”
This, Scala writes, goes hand-in-hand with personal investment.
At least once a day, Scala recommends asking, “Is there anything I can do for you?”
“I am well aware that everyone in your office probably doesn’t do that,” she writes. “There’s even a chance you will be the only one who asks. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.”
After all, helping others is what hygienists do for a living, she writes and everyone—regardless of their position—could use a hand sometimes.
“When a coworker helps me I feel so thankful and immense relief,” she writes. “Be the change you wish to see in your practice, seriously! You usually see your team more than your own families. You want to like each other!”
Meeting with your boss
Now that you’re keeping tabs on doing the above things Scala mentioned, it’s time to schedule a meeting with your employer regarding job performance and wage increases.
“Come to your review equipped with all the information explained above,” she writes. “You must have a legitimate reason to ask for a raise.”
Scala said to be prepared to hear “no,” but she also said if you deserve it, you should fight for it.
“If your employer says no, there’s always room for improvement. Ask your employer, ‘What would I need to do in addition to this amazing list of things I already do?’ ” She writes. “If by the end of the meeting it remains (a no), that’s fine. Perhaps that means looking for a new job, or requesting that another review be scheduled in three months to evaluate your progress after goals have been set.