In many practices, staff members get a check each December as a <em>bonus</em> for their efforts throughout the year.
In many practices, staff members get a check each December as a bonus for their efforts throughout the year. Well, forgive me -- I don't wish to come across as Ebenezer Scrooge -- but that's no bonus, or even a gift. It's an expectation -- an expectation that does not result in improved performance related to any key practice goals. Pretty much, holiday bonuses are simply a way for employees to supplement their holiday spending budgets each year.
You can do better than that. Develop a true bonus program, based upon key performance goals and measures, and implement it starting January 1st.
To be effective, a bonus program must be:
For this year, go ahead and write that "bonus" check, because everyone -- including your own budget -- is expecting it. But tell your staff that this will be their last bonus based on a holiday. That way they'll have a year to adjust and figure out better ways to finance their shopping.
Worried about getting a Scrooge reputation? Don't be. You can still give a holiday gift of some sort next year -- just not in the form of a check.
Certainly, implementing your new-and-improved bonus program will require an upfront investment. But, the end result will more than make up the difference in terms of actual revenue increases and practice efficiencies. But with careful forethought and planning, the return on investment for your practice -- in terms of increased revenue and intangible measures, such as patient loyalty -- will be more than worth the effort and expense.
Owen Dahl, FACHE, CHBC, is a nationally recognized medical practice management consultant with over 24 years of experience in consulting for and managing medical practices, and he is the author of "Business! Medical Practice Quality, Efficiency, Profits." He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 281 367 3364.