In this economy, asking for a raise seems pretty bold. But the last year has been exceedingly busy for health system CIOs, with demands regarding Meaningful Use, HIEs, implementing EMR/CPOE systems, expanding responsibilities, ICD-10, quality improvement initiatives, etc. Asking for a raise in tough economic times is difficult, but if you prepare yourself and communicate your value, your employer will want to make sure they retain such key performers.
The average base salary nationwide for health system CIOs is now over $200,000, as seen in recent surveys. The shift is going upward, are you following the trend? Here are some steps for preparing yourself to ask for a raise.
Step #1 Evaluate your situation
To get started you need to organize your materials, gather up your courage and keep a journal of all key contributions you have made over the last six months, or last year. If your contributions have been outstanding and you are underpaid for the market, it is time to ask for a pay raise. Consider your organization’s financial situation, if employees have been laid off, or there are budget problems, you may want to wait. If the organization is just frugal, you may have a chance.
Step #2 Research the market
Check out the salary statistics for your region, similar size organizations, staff size and responsibilities. Salary data can be found through talking to healthcare IT executive recruiters or recent healthcare surveys on the Internet, HIMSS 2008 Compensation Survey Results or Salary Survey 2010 – Computerworld.
Step #3 What have you done to deserve it?
Looking over the last year, you may have experienced key events and accomplishments that merit a pay raise. These should all be written in your journal or at least a spreadsheet.
- Promotion to a higher level
- Added responsibilities and areas of management
- Additional number of employees
- Successful completion of EHR/CPOE implementation
- Additional projects that you led which were critical to the health system bottom line
Step #4 Presentation
A well-written, hard copy proposal handed to your boss, which includes your goals and what you have done to exceed them, is a good way to document your achievements. Merit and performance will be valued by your employer in discussing a raise, and also your ideas on how you’re going to continue to improve. It shows that you are a professional and it provides a permanent record for your file.
Step #5 The Meeting
- Set a date to speak to your employer
- Bring your research
- Have a number in mind
- Be confident
- Be prepared to negotiate.
Before your meeting check out the Seven No-Nos When Asking For A Raise – Forbes.com:
- Don’t act like you’re entitled to a raise.
- Don’t tell the boss why you need more money.
- Don’t stamp your feet, pound on the desk or cry.
- Don’t say you should be paid the same as good old Billy Bob.
- Don’t threaten to quit.
- Don’t get personal.
- Don’t go for overkill.
If your boss turns you down, suggest continuing the discussion in three to six months or after a major milestone has been met. Even in this economic climate, CIOs are receiving pay raises and bonuses, but it does depend on an organization’s economic circumstances, and a CIO’s perceived merit and value to the health system. Build up your courage, prepare your proposal and ask for a raise.
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