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How to Optimize Negotiating a Raise

How to negotiate for a raise

Negotiating for a raise during the interview process is much different than negotiating for a raise once you are at a job. A lot goes into getting a raise, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it or shouldn’t try. There are several strategies that you can consider that increase the odds that you will get an increase in your income. Here are four of the strategies I used when negotiating a raise.   

When is the right time to negotiate a raise?

As physician assistants, it is typical to have regular reviews with your supervising physician. This may be every 3-6 months if you are new, up to every other year if you are a seasoned PA. You may also have an annual review with HR or your practice manager.  These are all ideal times to negotiate for a raise. If you have a stellar review, it makes your argument for increased compensation that much stronger. 

What is your value to the company?

There are two different ways to look at your value to the company: 

The first is monetary value. Do you make your company money, particularly do you bring in more revenue than you cost? If you are not tracking this, your employer certainly is. You should be able to request your numbers from your office manager (or billing department). How many patients do you see? How much do you bill? How does this compare to other providers in the practice? For myself, I was able to see that I see the most patients in my division. I was also able to see that I typically bill at a higher rate.  These objective markers are easy to leverage. 

The second type of value is proving you are the ideal employee. The best way to do this is by creating an Above and Beyond List. This is a list where you keep track of all the times you provided added value as an employee. Examples include times you stayed late, went out of your way to help a patient (ex. expedited a consult or imaging), or helped a colleague.  Items that I put on my Above and Beyond List included patient compliments, a shout-out from the lab, and the ways I helped train new employees. I brought the list to the review so I had another set of objective data to provide. 

How did I prepare?

Coming prepared to the negotiation table is key. As stated above, having objective data is paramount to your success. I came prepared with my Above and Beyond List as well as spreadsheets with my patient loads and generated revenue. I also had my previously positive reviews. These showed that I both knew my value and could prove it to my employer. Otherwise, the claims I was making didn’t hold much value. Make sure you come prepared with as much data as you can find. 

What is a reasonable request?

Should you ask for a $50,000 raise? Probably not. Make sure you are asking for something reasonable, otherwise you may get an automatic no. Usually, something between 5-15% is a good start (unless you can prove that you are worth exponentially more than that). You should also provide multiple options. Maybe one request is for X% raise, and the other is for a lesser % and an additional week of vacation. By providing options, you decrease pressure on your employer and increase the odds that you get a positive result. 

As a PA you provide a massive amount of value to your company. By understanding the value provide, asking at the right time, proving your worth, preparing, and providing options you drastically increase the odds that you will walk away with a raise. These are the exact steps I took to get an 8.4% raise despite being only one year into my contract. 

What are strategies you have used to get a raise? Let us know how your negotiation goes!

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