Show me the money: Asking for a raise in tough times

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Can I ask for a raise at a time when most team members are going without them?

Q. Can I ask for a raise at a time when most team members are going without them?

While some practices are holding off on giving raises, others are doling out the cash, says Dr. Karen Felsted, CPA, MS, CVPM, CEO of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues. So before you ask for a raise, assess your practice's performance—is your client schedule jam-packed or are you cutting employee hours? If it's the latter, now's probably not the time to ask for a raise.

But if your practice is doing well, you may be entitled to a raise, even during the lingering recession, Dr. Felsted says. While it may cost more these days to run a veterinary practice, your costs are rising too. "In the same way that practices are raising fees during the recession because their costs are going up, your costs are going up as well," she says.

But that doesn't mean every team member deserves a raise. "If you're a poor performer in the practice, lots of luck," Dr. Felsted says. "Your request is not going to be met with enthusiasm." But if you're an all-star employee, it may be time to ask for a salary bump.

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