Talking about money is awkward. Especially when your boss is on the other end of the conversation. As a nurse practitioner, you may feel that your salary is not longer competitive in the job market, or, that your skill set has increased making you a more profitable asset to your practice. Regardless of the reason you believe you’re due a salary increase, thinking through how you will approach the ask is essential to your success. The following pointers will help you navigate the process of asking for a raise in your nurse practitioner job.
Timing is Everything
As a teen, you likely were well aware of timing when it came to asking your parents for money. Requesting funds during a tense moment, or immediately after a parent had made a big purchase didn’t always go your way. In the same way, timing is of the essence when asking for a raise.
Consider your company’s fiscal year. Asking for a raise a few months before the start of the year is more likely to be successful as this is when budgets are planned and finalized for coming months. If you have periodic evaluations, this may be a good time to open up the conversation. Choose a time when your boss isn’t under a lot of pressure – you don’t want your ask for a raise to be one more source of stress. Also, considering tabling your ask for the time being if your practice is going through a period of financial hardship.
Present Your Agenda in Advance
It’s best to be transparent and straightforward when you decide to ask for a salary increase. Request a meeting with your boss with a clear agenda. Say something alone the lines of “I’d like to sit down with you for a few minutes to discuss my salary, when would be a good time in the next few weeks?”. This way, your boss can prepare for the conversation as well, and your request won’t seem underhanded.
Bank on Your Performance
Working for an employer for a specific amount of time doesn’t inherently entitle you to a raise, or mean you’ve proven your worth to the company. Make your case for a raise based on your accomplishments as a nurse practitioner rather than length of employment. Performance that goes above and beyond the expected will be motivation for your employer to pay more.
Identify the value you’ve added to the practice since your salary was first discussed. Have you taken on additional responsibilities? Learned new procedures? Brought new patients into the practice? These are things you may want reflected in your new salary.
Set Realistic Expectations for Your Raise
Determining how much to ask for is a bit tricky. Do background research to make sure your desired compensation is realistic. If there is a precedent at your company, for example, a 2% salary increase for meeting certain metrics, use this as a benchmark. If not, check out the average nurse practitioner salary in your location for your specialty. Asking for too much may get a reactionary ‘no’, but also you don’t want to cut yourself short.
You may also leave the amount of your raise in your boss’ court. Your employer might come back higher than you expected. If the offer is lower, name the figure you had in mind and see if you might be able to meet in the middle.
Keep Your Cool
Threatening to leave if you don’t get what you want isn’t generally a good idea. It indicates an adversarial attitude and professional immaturity. If you do choose this approach, don’t bluff. Your employer may actually show you the door.
Avoid complaining as you outline the reasons you deserve a boost in compensation. You don’t want to get your boss on the defensive. An attitude of gratitude for where your employment has taken you so far is a better way to start the conversation.
Your ask for more money should be related to your own hard work and resulting value to the company rather than a ‘so and so earns more’ mindset. Comparing yourself to other nurse practitioners in your practice can come across as immature, and can cause you to say negative things about your coworkers – not a quality of a true team player worthy of a salary increase.
Prepare for a ‘No’
If your request for higher pay is declined, ask what you can do better to ensure you are eligible for a raise next time. Are there any additional responsibilities you can take on, or metrics you must work to meet to improve your performance? Are there any additional training sessions you can attend or nurse practitioner skills you will need to achieve higher compensation?
What tactics will you use as you approach your employer for a salary increase?