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Should Employees Have to Jump Through Hoops to Get Performance Reviews?

How does your office handle this issue?




HEY TRINA, WHAT do I gotta do to get a raise around here?” Kate asked her coworker.


Real Deal scenarios are inspired by true stories but are changed to sharpen the dilemmas involved and should not be confused with real people or places. Responses are peer-sourced opinions and are not a substitute for professional legal advice. Please contact your attorney if you have any questions about an employee or customer situation in your own business.


Carissa Dunphy has been working in private practice optometry since 2008 and is the founder of Optician Now ( Follow Carissa on Instagram and Facebook at @opticiannow.

Trina laughed, “The million-dollar question! If you figure it out, let me know!”

Kate continued, “When I was hired two years ago I was given the pay rate I wanted so I didn’t ask questions about increases. I never had a review after my ‘probationary period,’ or even at my year mark, and now still nothing.”

“I can empathize with you on this,” Trina replied. “In six years I have had two pay raises, completely from my own proactivity.”

“That is insane,” Kate grumbled. “I’ve never heard of such a thing!”

“How do you mean?” Trina replied.

“When I worked in corporate, reviews had a pre-determined cadence; employee and manager knew exactly when reviews would be. I get that this is a small business, but that doesn’t mean you can completely ignore giving employees reviews with the hopes that you never have to pay them more,” Kate ranted.

“It’s so not cool — believe it or not, this isn’t the only office I’ve worked in that has played the ‘if I ignore it maybe it will go away’ game,” Trina said. “That was ultimately the reason I left my last office.”


“I mean, it’s not like I’m just expecting a raise because I’ve surpassed a period of time with the company.” Kate elaborated, “I’ve proven myself with measurable results and have an impeccable attendance record.”

Trina responded, “No one would ever contest that you deserve a raise. Unfortunately, it’s more a matter of if you want to go through all of the unnecessary back-and-forth it will take to actually get one.”

“Well, I’d be doing all of that work on company time anyways,” Kate laughed, “so I think it would be worth it in the end.”

“I had the same thoughts when I prepped for my first review,” Trina explained. “I went back and forth with the owner for months — creating and providing documentation proving my performance, only to have them respond with a request for more of, or changes to be made to, one thing or another.”

Kate replied, “To some degree, I would expect to have to provide that anyways.”

“To a degree, yes. Typically the owner or manager already has a process or templated paperwork and keeps track of performance throughout one’s employment.” Trina added, “I literally had to create everything. A couple of years later, I thought approaching them for my second review would be easier because I had already created these things once before — that I could just update with new information — but no, they manifested new and even more ridiculous hoops I had to jump through for another four months.”

“And was it worth it?” Kate asked.

“I wasn’t blown away by the pay increase.” Trina added, “It left me more disappointed than anything.”

The Big Questions

  • Are employees wrong in expecting a review and pay increase every few years? What’s acceptable?
  • If a business isn’t in a position to accommodate pay increases, how should accessing employees’ performance and goals be handled?
  • Does your office have a formal employee review and/or pay increase protocol in place? Share it with us!


Robert H.
Olathe, KS

Employees should expect a process to stay current on their performance. We do in-the-moment coaching each day, as well as quarterly one-on-ones and yearly performance reviews. We do not address pay at annual reviews, we want that to be separate. We also make it a mission not to wait for team members to come to us, we are always evaluating their performance and when they grow, take on more, do more, we proactively increase their pay to match, staying ahead of trends and keeping them happy.

Ben T.
Miami Gardens, FL

Employees are not wrong in expecting a review or pay increase periodically. Increases should be linked to production and value to the practice. Employers should survey their teams to find out what a raise means to them. For some it means getting their nails done every week or paying for their kids’ sports. Knowing what the money represents allows employers to think of creative ways (like salon gift cards or cash bonuses) to help their teams achieve their financial goals. I’ve found these types of incentives save employers money in the long run. It’s a win-win. For us, a standard raise follows inflation. Anything above that follows production and value brought to the business.

Caitlin N.
Montrose, CO

We do a 90-day review and a review at the beginning of the year for every employee to discuss performance and raises. It is based off a percentage for the raise and how well employees are doing in their position. I think that with the cost of living continuing to rise it is necessary for employees to have a raise at least once a year or if they have changed job duties to include more tasks or certifications in the field.

Rigo L.
Optometry, Indio, CA

… And I thought this was only happening to me! Seasoned opticians know the majority of private doctors don’t take initiative to reward employees. It is sad but true, larger corporate offices offer more pay and benefits but demand more frustrating work while private offices do the opposite. Private practice doctors know what an optician brings to their office but aren’t willing to recognize it, so they don’t have to compensate them. Also, a majority of private practice doctors don’t know how to set up a reward/bonus/review system. Private practice doctors could be the best at patient care but the worst at employee care. It is better to feel appreciated by receiving than to have to ask for something; at that point it doesn’t feel you deserve it — you got it because you asked.

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