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Mayo Clinic responds to employees upset about lower-than-expected raises

In the wake of complaints by frustrated employees, Mayo Clinic’s official explanation is that the raises are calculated solely in comparison to the market. The annual salary adjustment is based on a review of external market factors, the clinic says.

Mayo Clinic
Despite the turbulence of another pandemic year, Mayo Clinic reported record-high revenues in 2021.
Joe Ahlquist / Rochester Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — Late on the afternoon of Friday, Jan. 21, Mayo Clinic issued a statement to employees who are disappointed in the raises announced this week that start at 2% , citing the stress of the pandemic, being short staffed and the rising costs because of inflation.

Mayo Clinic’s official explanation for the increase for 2022 is that raises are calculated solely in comparison to “external market data.” The statement to employees was issued three days after the raises were announced.

Many Mayo Clinic employees voiced their frustration this week over the less-than-expected raises, but no one would comment in a news article for fear of losing their job. The raises come in the wake of two stressful years, where understaffed Mayo Clinic teams worked on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to do so.

The raises mean employees at the top of the pay scale will receive 2% pay increases. Employees who have not reached their position’s salary cap can use .0275 as a multiplier leading to raises of more than 2%.

"Taking into account the multiplier, more than half of our staff will receive a 3.3% or greater increase," according to Mayo Clinic's statement.

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A national survey of 1,004 companies by business research firm Willis Towers Watson, another research firm, found health care, media and financial services companies were giving an average of 3% for 2022.

The salary adjustment is going to “eligible consulting and allied health staff,” according to the internal message. The raises will be effective March 16 and will show up in employees’ paychecks on April 5.

This raise is the same amount as the one Mayo Clinic instituted in pre-pandemic 2020.

"We strive to provide increases every year, and we value our ability to be consistent in providing annual pay adjustments regularly, despite volatility in the cost of living," according to the statement. "When Mayo Clinic sets the annual salary adjustment, it uses market factors, including projected salary structure movement and projected salary increases across industries. Mayo also reviews positions and makes market adjustments every year or as needed to ensure competitiveness, and we are addressing areas where we are experiencing staffing challenges."

On Mayo Clinic’s employee News Center site, a list of frequently asked questions about the raises was posted this week with the nonprofit’s answers.

One question posted asked “Why isn’t the 2022 salary adjustment higher when Mayo Clinic continues to do so well financially?”

Despite some early pandemic-driven setbacks, Mayo Clinic performed well on the business side with $4.01 billion revenue in the third quarter of 2021. That is 18.2 percent higher than $3.39 billion revenue tallied during the pre-pandemic third quarter in 2019.

“Mayo Clinic performed very well in 2021, and Mayo staff made that possible. 2021 was a challenging year, and Mayo Clinic has expressed its gratitude in many ways for the dedication and commitment of staff. Mayo will continue to do so,” according to the response. “As for salaries, those adjustments are based on external market data.”

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The Friday statement stressed how much the Mayo Clinic administration values the 73,000 employees working all of its campuses; about 39,000 work in the Rochester area.

"Mayo staff have gone above and beyond to provide compassionate care for patients throughout these unprecedented times, and we are committed to recognizing staff for their commitment to our patients and values," according to the statement. "When Mayo Clinic sets the annual salary adjustment, it uses market factors, including projected salary structure movement and projected salary increases across industries. Mayo also reviews positions and makes market adjustments every year or as needed to ensure competitiveness, and we are addressing areas where we are experiencing staffing challenges."

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On social media and in anonymous messages, some Mayo Clinic employees said they would rather have a larger salary instead of “gratitude” gifts like tote bags, apples and items with the logo of Mayo Clinic’s “Bold. Forward” initiative.

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Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in "Heard on the Street." Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.

Jeff Kiger writes a daily column, "Heard on the Street," in addition to writing articles about local businesses, Mayo Clinic, IBM, Hormel Foods, Crenlo and others. He has worked in Rochester for the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Jeff at 507-285-7798 or jkiger@postbulletin.com.
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