LEADING OFF: CEO Challenge: Take Feelings out of Salary Negotiations

My challenge for you this month: Use metrics and goals, not feelings, to determine merit increases.


I often hear from practice owners that an employee “felt” he or she should be paid more, but was unable to provide specific reasons. Regardless, the practice owner acquiesced to avoid unwanted turnover. Hmm.

When performance and production criteria are not defined clearly, the employer be- comes exposed to this scenario. While there may be some subjectiveness to compensation discussions (e.g. a friendly disposition toward patients is important, but hard to quantify), using metrics and outcomes when determining salary increases is the way to go. After all, raises that are not tied to specific performance or production goals risk becoming viewed by employees as entitlements.


  • Set clear goals and expectations for each position. Each should include the factors that will be weighted heaviest (e.g. glasses sales) in determining raises.
  • Help employees succeed. Work to support your employees by offering the tools (e.g. point-of-purchase materials), training and resources to succeed: When the employee succeeds, the practice succeeds.
  • Communicate often. Update employees often on the status of their goals, so they understand what’s left to earn that raise. OM