merit based salary increases

  1. my hospital is getting ready to switch to merit based salary increases. while i believe that the nurses who do the work should be rewarded i also am afraid some backstabbing will occur, one person trying to make self look better to get salary increase, hopefully they will have criteria in place before starting this system anyone have this now please advise
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   NurseDennie
    Oh wow. Here I am, posting *two* cynical posts in One evening!

    Merit based increases are poopola. It involves more paperwork, and it does not (in general) involve paying highly productive nurses more actual money.

    In fact, I believe that merit based salary increases are probably the brainchild of some consultant moron. It's part of the "empowerment" movement which is shiny poopola!

    Generally how it works is the commitee or the administration of who-ever starts this exercise comes up with a list of standards. Patient care, team player-ness, leadership, punctuality and absenteeism, etc., etc., Each standard receives a score, such as: Nogood/lousy, okay, better than average, role model and paragon. Generally you rate yourself for all these standards with a modest little line or two to justify why you think you're a paragon, or excusing yourself if you rate yourself as below average. You also have to define some goals to meet before your next review.

    In some places, you also have to have a peer review, where one of your co-workers ALSO fills in this same form for you. Then your manager/head nurse or whatever looks at these and he or she fills out the one that counts. You have a meeting and go over your review and suggest some different goals for the next year.

    Then the standard line is: you are a very good nurse. Role model or better. So you get the highest pay raise allowed this year: 3% The pay raise slide actually goes all the way to 3.5% BUT if we said you were worth the 3.5%, then we'd have to go to upper management and get it okayed. "Okay, let me know what they say."

    Love

    Dennie
  4. by   RNKitty
    "shiny poopola"

    Thanks Dennie. I needed that! LOL. I'll try to remember the terminology when I potty train my youngest.
  5. by   -jt
    totally agree with Dennie. Merit raises are just something else that leave you at the mercy of the employers whim. You can bet your bottom dollar that if the budget is short the month yours comes up for consideration, something will be found lacking in you to avoid having to give you the raise you are worth. Just about every union opposes merit raises. Ours does not allow them in our contracts. Nyack nurses were on strike for 6 months partly to keep this system from being installed. They ended up keeping the experience step raises we always had AND allowing for additional merit bonuses but merit bonuses did not replace their raise system. NYC teachers dont have a contract right now because they are rightfully still opposing merit raises & the city is still insisting. Increases should be made based on years of experience & education. There are other ways for the employer to reward an exceptional employee rather than leaving everyones salary at the mercy of somebody elses arbitrary opinion with merit raises - ex. the Nyack nurses contract
  6. by   wrightgd
    I have personal experience with the "merit system" of pay raises. You are right to be skeptics. It basically boiled down to the fact that no matter how good an employee you were, there is still a finite quantity of funding to be spread amongst the worker bees. While they tell you that the range is for example, "potentially up to a 10% increase", the part they don't tell you is that this scenario is only if they give it all to one person, and the rest do without. The result, is that because of limited funds, and the fact that "every employee contributes fairly equally", you all get about the same thing. The range from top to bottom was usually 5.0% down to 3.5%... Well, let me tell you, if you're bustin' your tale takin' care of patients, while some prima donna is filin' her nails, the 1.5% difference doesn't quite cut it!!!

    George
  7. by   whipping girl in 07
    I too have experienced "merit" raises. It was at a hospital (although I was not working as a nurse at the time). I'd go in for my review and sit down with my boss to go over the review, and I'd be marked all "3"s on a 1-5 scale (with one or two "4"s thrown in for good measure). I'd ask, "So you think my work is only average?" and she'd say, "Konni, there's only enough money for me to give everyone a 3% raise, so I have to mark you as average to justify it. If I gave you all "5"s I'd have to give you a 5% raise, and someone else wouldn't get as much or any at all." So then I'd say, "But if you think I deserve all "5"s then you should give it to me with the raise." So then, of course, she'd say, "Konni, nearly everyone in this department has a family to support. You don't have any kids, so why would I give you more than anyone else? You're lucky to get as much as you do. By the way, you need to re-do your self assessment and mark more "3"s and "4"s and get rid of all these "5"s so our reviews look more the same. HR always wants to know why employees rate themselves highly while the supervisor calls them average."

    I wish I was making this up, but that was the ******** I heard at my first real full-time job. After that review, I was determined to finish my degree and get the hell out of menial office work. It took me awhile, but I've finally made it.

    Merit raises are crap. No manager has the balls to give more to the people who deserve it, and less to the people who do nothing. Everyone gets the same thing, and it's fair. Sounds like communism to me.

    My, that was a long time ago. I can't believe I'm still so bitter!
  8. by   -jt
    <there's only enough money for me to give everyone a 3% raise, so I have to mark you as average to justify it. If I gave you all "5"s I'd have to give you a 5% raise, and someone else wouldn't get as much or any at all." So then I'd say, "But if you think I deserve all "5"s then you should give it to me with the raise." So then, of course, she'd say, "Konni, nearly everyone in this department has a family to support. You don't have any kids, so why would I give you more than anyone else? You're lucky to get as much as you do. By the way, you need to re-do your self assessment and mark more "3"s and "4"s and get rid of all these "5"s so our reviews look more the same. HR always wants to know why employees rate themselves highly while the supervisor calls them average." >

    and not once did she mention your merit - so why they even call this a "merit" raise is beyond me. I prefer to have my raises guaranteed in my contract and based on my education, experience and value.
  9. by   tiger
    we are doing the merit raises now. it suc*s. it depends on who is doing your eval where i am. your manager has complete say so unless you get less than 2.0 and then the union can get involved. you can get up to 6% but that is in your dreams. the highset i know of in the 11 yrs i have been there is 3.8 because the wording of the questions in the eval make it impossible to get higher. i always got 3.8 from first boss--been there forever. then, got a new inexperienced boss who was doing exactly what her boss told her to do that gave me 3.4. the latest was 3.6. and this acting manager hates me. she didn't know how to tally up the eval and i think that is the only reason i didn't get a 2.1 from her. not because i do not do good work but because in everything else she has done she has shown that she acts on her feelings, not fact. she gave one rn a really bad eval after me and i know it is because they don't get along. this rn is a hard worker and gets along good with everyone except this woman. i could never refer to this acting manager as my boss. we have a new boss now who has been at the hospital i am at for like 24 years but i only hear bad things about her. word is she got bumped to us from another unit for all the union write ups. i'm trying to give her a chance, but hey, i'm in the union too.
  10. by   susanmary
    My hospital has been "awarding" merit-based raises for years. No matter how exemplary your evaluation is, it is based on the mid-range salary point. If you have gone over your sick days and get a written notice -- no matter how exemplary you are -- you get no raise. Really punitive. I can't imagine this would happen if we were unionized. No cost-of-living raises whatsoever. Oh, we also have peer review -- you are also evaluated by a committee of nurses, aides, and secretaries -- they also have input regarding your evaluation -- which ultimately drives up/down your raise. The committee is elected by each unit. I absolutely hate peer review as it has caused undue hard feelings amongst staff. Staff hate it, but it's mandated by management -- I feel the evaluation process IS management's responsibility.
  11. by   Charles S. Smith, RN, MS
    Originally posted by wrightgd
    I have personal experience with the "merit system" of pay raises. You are right to be skeptics. It basically boiled down to the fact that no matter how good an employee you were, there is still a finite quantity of funding to be spread amongst the worker bees. While they tell you that the range is for example, "potentially up to a 10% increase", the part they don't tell you is that this scenario is only if they give it all to one person, and the rest do without. The result, is that because of limited funds, and the fact that "every employee contributes fairly equally", you all get about the same thing. The range from top to bottom was usually 5.0% down to 3.5%... Well, let me tell you, if you're bustin' your tale takin' care of patients, while some prima donna is filin' her nails, the 1.5% difference doesn't quite cut it!!!

    George
    This is just about square on the nose George. As a nursing administrator I knew first hand just how much funding went in to the merit system. The caveat from the CEO and CFO was...if you give a 7.5% (max) then you have to give a 0% to someone else to even it out. There is definitely a finite amount of money budgeted for raises. The merit system is passe, not worth the paper it is printed on and actually does more to decrease morale than strengthen it. A fairer system is to make employee appraisals, just that, semi-annual and annual appraisals that are honest. Detach money from the individual appraisal and have raises or increases based on how well your unit performs against its own stated objectives (not based on other units). This gives staff members some ownership of how well the unit performs, keeps them in the peer review mode to help weed out or remediate poor performers and is much fairer in the long run. Any time you attach money to an individual appraisal, the deck is stacked against you in favor of the the financial department. Nurses, start letting your administrators know that you know how these things work.....and the wool is not going to be pulled over your eyes....

    best
    chas
  12. by   traumaRUs
    We too have a sorta merit system, we have clinical ladders. So, in order to get the max, you have to be charge, preceptor, do triage, serve on committees (which only meet during the day), run one mile in less than 3 minutes, fly a kite w/o string, (well you get my drift). Its gotten so that with all the teaching, meetings, etc, that I regularly spend an awful lot of my "off" time at work!!!
  13. by   -jt
    <The merit system is passe, not worth the paper it is printed on and actually does more to decrease morale than strengthen it.>

    the mere fact that employers are willing to fight so hard to get this raise system into place, even to the point of pushing employees to strike over the issue, is enough proof that it is not something that is in the employees favor.
  14. by   grouchy
    We have the merit raise system, no cost-of-living adjustments, and were told last year that merit raises were capped at 2%, due to the hospital's financial difficulties. 2% is, in my mind, a cost-of-living adjustment, not a merit raise.

    However, they did end up giving a one-time across the board raise to all nurses last year, and are now offering $10,000 sign-on bonuses and $2000 retention bonuses.

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