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Top tips to help you grab a pay rise

by in Pay, Salary

Pay rises, it seems, are an emotive subject. Plus, if the popular thread on the Practice Index Forum is anything to go by – click here to join the conversation – there’s a real mixed bag of regular pay rises, ad hoc increases, bonus payments and no rises to contend with.

Reading between the lines of this forum thread, it suggests practice managers either don’t like talking about pay, they’re not very good at negotiating raises, there’s a real lack of firm policies over annual pay reviews – or a combination of these or any other factors. Sometimes it can also be the case that the issue just gets lost in the whirlpool of deadlines PMs are having to deal with day-to-day.

That said, negotiating a pay rise can be one of the tougher tasks we’ll undertake whilst in employment. In fact, the fear of unsettling our current work situation is often enough to deter many of us from exploring the idea altogether. But if you feel you deserve a pay rise, you shouldn’t back away.

With this in mind, and continuing our series of HR- and employment-based blogs, we’ve spoken to a team of recruitment consultants to get their top tips to help you negotiate a pay rise, even when you’re told there’s no money. Here goes:

  1. Knowledge is power

The whole pay rise process should begin with a period of research, according to our experts. Dig into the practice’s current financial standing and arm yourself with the information you need to combat the claim that “there’s no money” or push back against your desired percentage uplift. Check out salary benchmarking surveys, talk to other practice managers to see what they’re being paid (this is a handy resource), and work out the extra responsibilities you’ve taken on. If you’re new to a practice, try to find out what your predecessor was earning. Gather as much information you can about improvements in standards since you took over your role- for example, did your CQC inspection go well? Did you establish a PCN? The more you can demonstrate, the better!

  1. The best person?

Who’s the best person to ask in your practice? Who’s the kindest? Who values what you do the most? An initial approach to the best person can at least win you an ally further into the process.

  1. Timing is everything

The easiest way to boost your chances of a pay rise is to get the timing right, according to our experts. This timing should be based on both personal timings – e.g. after your work anniversary, a few months since you’ve successfully taken on new work responsibilities, during an annual performance review – and on the practice timings. There’s little benefit asking about pay just before the new contract and funding details are released, for example.

  1. Work out your value

This can be tough, but thinking about the value you bring in terms of your experience and proven performance is a great base around which discussions can take place.

You need to communicate that you’re looking for a salary that better reflects the effort and energy you put into your work and the benefit you bring to the practice, so research and define your contribution – the “give” for what you want to get. Build your business case to justify your ask, include the ways you’ve helped the practice earn or save money, and give concrete amounts.

Compile a list of your professional accomplishments since your last performance review. It’s important to display to your employer why you deserve a pay rise. Professionals able to consistently demonstrate how they have added value to the business stand a greater chance of successfully negotiating a pay rise, according to the experts we spoke to. Be sure to include examples of where you have exceeded goals, provided innovative solutions, and all the ways you’ve gone beyond your job description. Consider your CQC inspections – with the introduction of the annual review,  demonstrate the preparation you have put in to the call with the policies and suggested answers you have built up from your guide to the ARR.  Or think about “Do Not Attends” – your practice want to ensure these are reduced and if you can successfully demonstrate that you have facilitated this (check out this free eLearning course on how you can achieve this here), it is a great visual way to prove your value.

  1. Get a (better) offer

The strongest hand you can play is another job offer. Although it can be draining to secure interviews and a job offer, having an alternative opportunity is incredibly useful. First, it shows you what the market looks like — are there more attractive options elsewhere or perhaps your current job is very desirable? More importantly, an outside offer provides a very concrete and undeniable benchmark of your worth. Take a look at comparative roles and salaries on the Practice Index jobs board or NHS jobs for the latest opportunities.

  1. Take the lead

Make the first offer and you’ll have the upper hand in negotiations. Using the evidence gathered in your research, consider the minimum rise you would accept, factoring in cost of living increases of course. Be confident in your preparation and ask for what you want. Don’t hold back.

  1. Go armed with ideas

As well as detailing past successes, try to have a couple of revenue generating or money saving ideas to roll out – these are sure to get your partners listening! Demonstrate the new policies and procedures you have brought in to improve efficiency in the practice – think about the KO14b Complaints process (using the toolkit!), for example, or how you have improved management of sickness absence.

  1. Know your options

Despite your best efforts, your partners may not be able to or just will not offer a pay rise. However, there are other options available to you, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to discuss your current benefits, such as:

  • Extra annual leave. While a pay rise might be off the tableadditional paid holiday can be a good alternative and will improve your work–life balance, especially leading up to Christmas.
  • Discuss receiving a bonus.From your practice partner’s perspective, a one-time monetary incentive may be more doable than a salary increase.
  • Flexible working.An improved work–life balance may feel better than a pay rise, so discuss what opportunities there might be for telecommuting or a more flexible schedule.

Remember though that bonuses etc. do not count towards pensions – year-on-year increases are by far the best ways to go from a long-term planning perspective.

  1. Aim for an agreement

Before ending a discussion, push for an agreement and acknowledgment for your efforts.

Ask for a timeline of future discussions or decisions if necessary. Try to set up a regular annual pay review whilst you’re at it.

  1. And finally…

Have a read of this great post on Practice Index – it’ll set you up beautifully for a discussion!

How have you successfully negotiated a pay rise? Share your tips below or head along to the Practice Index Forum.

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2 Responses to “Top tips to help you grab a pay rise”
  1. Avatar
    Robert the PM Says:

    Always look for fairness and comparability with mainstream NHS pay rises. Anything less merely suggests that GP employers are being greedy. I found one Practice recently where the National Living Wage was not being paid. Practice Managers need to be and keep fully aware of NHS pay rates.


  2. Avatar
    Christina PM Says:

    If you can’t negotiate hard and successfully for yourself, what message are you giving to your employers?! Believe in yourself – if you don’t ask ……


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