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6 Strategies for Compensating and Motivating Your Staff

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

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What is more precious than money? The answer is different for each person, and this is a question employers seldom ask. After facilitating an employee satisfaction survey for a practice, one doctor was surprised to see that, when asked what would make each employee’s job more enjoyable, not a single one listed a raise. Each wrote something that was personal to them that the physician had never considered. One employee explained that her start time of 8:30 am made it challenging to drop off her son, and get to work on time. She arrived stressed every morning because of the pressure to beat the clock. She said if she could start 30 minutes later and stay 30 minutes later, it would drastically increase her quality of life. From this exercise, it was discovered how inexpensive it can be to enhance an employee’s job satisfaction. Institute an annual survey asking employees to list three nonfinancial items that could increase their job satisfaction, and then work to implement reasonable suggestions.

3. The rich doctor rumor

If you don’t explain to your staff members that the $400 a patient pays for a Botox treatment doesn’t go straight into your wallet, they won’t see it any other way. Encourage employees to think twice before ordering supplies and to be less wasteful by making your expenses and overhead visible. Some practices post a chart of monthly expenses and others have monthly meetings to review overhead. See Monthly Expenses Chart. By showing your staff members how the economy and overhead affect your business, you can help motivate them to keep expenses down and to stop looking to you as an endless supply of cash and credit cards.

4. Pay for performance

It is imperative to the growth of your practice that your staff members know that their daily efforts and contributions are directly linked to what they take home. Whether by instituting a grading system (See Employee Grading Scale) or using a formula, such as revenue generated or number of patients converted (See Potential Profitability), a great way to keep a bounce in your staff members’ steps is to track their performance and reward them accordingly.

The best way to implement a pay or bonus system based on performance is to clearly explain the criteria to employees and hold reviews two to three times a year so they have an idea about how they are performing. Determining a potential raise or a bonus, no matter how small, based on a staff member’s performance is a great way to ensure everyone is working toward a common goal of keeping the practice running smoothly and generating revenue.

5. Motive + action = motivation

Setting goals may seem like a rudimentary activity; however, this simple task can have a tremendous impact on your staff. By setting goals, you are giving a staff member something to work toward. Motivation can be broken down into finding a motive, and then deciding which actions are necessary to achieve the desired outcome. The action you want to achieve becomes your goal. Have your staff annually submit its short-term and long-term goals, and track what is being done to achieve them during reviews.