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6 Strategies for Compensating and Motivating Your Staff

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By: Tracy Drumm
Posted: March 4, 2010, from the March 2010 issue of

Abstract: Compensation is always a tricky issue for medical practices, but money might not always be the bottom line when it comes to rewarding your staff members. Find out what motivates them and work to make quality-of-life changes that may be as beneficial to them as money, such as making their work schedules more flexible. The six strategies listed in this article will help you navigate the seas of compensation and motivation for a happier, more driven staff.

During a time when the money tree hasn’t been as fruitful as in years past, many physicians have asked how to keep their staff members happy without breaking the bank. The ambiguity surrounding the dos and don’ts for paying personnel continues to make compensation structures one of the most challenging aspects of running a practice. After speaking with physicians from offices of all shapes and sizes throughout the country, the only clear rule is that there is no one clear rule.

When it comes to paying employees and keeping them happy, you can’t rely on a one-size-fits-all solution. Each practice and office has different strengths, weaknesses and personalities. The best model for success to keep your staff in harmony is to create a plan that is tailored to the dynamics of your practice.

Rethink rewards

The first step to developing a plan is to rethink your rewards system. As an employer, it is natural to assume people work solely for money, and if you cultivate an environment where they are purely driven by the almighty dollar, you will have employees who are only motivated by a paycheck. Rethink the idea of compensation, and instead consider quality-of-life initiatives you can offer your employees. Explore the following strategies, and see if a new idea or concept might help stretch your dollars and keep your staff smiling.

1. Motivation

Within a medical setting, various job duties generally attract a diverse group of personalities who are motivated differently. The first step to increasing job satisfaction is to identify what drives each of your employees. Typical human motivators can either be classified as intrinsic, such as wanting a feeling of satisfaction, desiring success or enjoying fulfilling a task; or extrinsic, such as a promotion, verbal praise or even punishment. Although some employees may only be motivated by a check, others work harder to gain a sense of social belonging, acknowledgment from supervisors or leadership opportunities. Some are driven by the opportunity to conquer a challenge as opposed to needing a strict incentive plan. Once you classify what it is that motivates each employee in your office, you can better cater a compensation and bonus structure to align with their goals.

2. Communication