Asking for a Raise
I went in to HR a few weeks ago and asked for a raise. I didn't do this on a whim or anything. I had been carefully planning what I would say and how I would ask for weeks. I followed the chain of command and was led to our HR director for the moment of truth. I am not going to say if I did or didn't get the raise I desired, because that really isn't the point I want to make. What I want to discuss is the general attitude, as I see it, about getting a raise in healthcare.
Asking for a raise is very common in the working world, be you a factory worker or a teacher or a mid- level accountant; management pays to hold on to those that bring value. But it doesn't seem to be as common in healthcare. At most hospitals, at least the rural ones I have worked for, employees get a 3% cost of living raise (if anything) per year and there is usually nothing given beyond that. The prevailing thought seems to be, "If I ask for more money, they will find someone else to do my job, so I better just be quiet" -- and the underlying thought being, "There is someone else out there who can do my job just as good as I can."
It seems the general plan or hope to increase personal salary in healthcare is to move up into management or continue your education and become an advanced practitioner or physician. Times are lean and with the uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act I understand why hospitals, especially rural hospitals, aren't doling out the cash ... but that doesn't mean one shouldn't get paid for the value one brings to any position, be it RT, nurse or environmental services. If you are confident that your value is premium and the ability you bring can't be replaced, put your cards on the table and make management play their hand.
I am a firm believer that if you do not proclaim and leverage the value you bring to the workplace, those you work for will be more than happy to let you continue to be your valuable self at the least amount of expense to them as possible. It is rare that management will come up to you and say, "You are doing a great job! How does $5K more a year sound?" Most of the time you have to ask for it.