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a blog by Chris Barrow

How many times a year do you need to review pay?

My monthly column in Dentistry magazine tackled the subject of dealing with pay demands by empowerment, rather than drama:

The title of this morning's post is a new FAQ from clients, as team members and clinicians tap on the door and ask for more.

So how many times should we be reviewing pay in the current cost of living cycle?

I'm going to take a very quick trip down memory lane to my 25 years in Corporate UK, working for national financial services companies.

Pay was reviewed in January each year - period.

In fact, January was the month in which pay, bonuses (if applicable) and promotion were reviewed and my Employers would not only break the good or bad news financially, but there would also be a "Cabinet Reshuffle" as we were moved up and down the ladder.

The fact that my cost of living may have changed during the year was of no consequence (for example, the 19% interest rate on my mortgage in 1979). If prices went up, we tightened our belts or looked for secondary sources of income.

OK - so stop the Hovis advert soundtrack and my reminiscing about growing up in a shoebox - let's ignore the "slow past" and wind forward to the fast-paced present and future.

Does the fact that we live in either a digital or post-Covid age make any difference?

I don't believe so.

Prices on supermarket shelves, for home and travel energy and to service debt were just as volatile back then.

The difference is in levels of expectation.

Cue GOM - grumpy old man.

"When I was a lad - we didn't go knocking on the boss's door three times a year, asking for more money - had we done so it would have been greeted by my managers with both incredulity and ridicule. We were told to get back to our desks, work our tripe out and see what Santa brought at the end of the year."

Cue rolling eyeballs from anyone under age 50 - especially our own children, employees and self-employed clinicians.

However, the bottom line is that a business cannot function properly when its cost base is bobbing around like a cork in a storm at sea.

So we have to create ways of maintaining stability - and annual pay reviews are an important part of that process, in the same way as a fixed rate mortgage or an agreed monthly repayment to your energy provider.

The sooner you make that clear to your teams and clinicians the better.

“We review all pay on 1st January every year for all team members - at that time, your pay will be reviewed according to:

  • General economic conditions;

  • The dental landscape:

  • The profitability of the business;

  • You own role and responsibilities;

  • Your own level of qualification and further education;

  • Your positive contribution to team spirit."

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