Bonus Copy

An unusual but highly effective bonus system

Aug. 12, 2021
Thinking about a bonus system in your practice? Production and personal goals motivate this team to get the job done. See if their method is a good fit for you.

By Kristie Williams

There seems to be a lot of discussion regarding bonus systems. Are bonus plans effective? Should they be done monthly, quarterly, or annually? Should they be given individually or as a team? These questions plague bosses when considering the implementation of a bonus system.

According to DCR Strategies, 90% of business leaders believe that an engagement strategy could positively impact their business, yet only 25% of them actually have a strategy. From the research I did, I found that the positive results of having a bonus system far outweigh any potential negativity.

Some additional statistics from DCR Strategies detail some of the reasons that an office should consider implementing a bonus plan.

Employee motivation—The presence of a corporate incentive program motivated 66% of employees to stay at their jobs.
Employee performance—Properly structured incentive programs can increase employee performance by as much as 44%.
Customer loyalty—41% of customers are loyal to a brand or company because they notice employees’ positive attitude, while 68% of customers defect from a brand or company due to negative employee attitude.

Team and individual goals

Our practice has a monthly bonus system customized for both team and individual goals. We have a team-focused daily production goal, and individual goals for each team member. The individual goals consist of one professional goal and one personal goal. The professional goal is usually given to the team member by the office manager or doctor. The team member chooses his or her own goal. This can be anything they want to improve upon outside the office. For instance, after the holidays, some team members set workout or dietary goals.

Sometimes the doctor and office manager’s professional goal becomes the entire team’s goal, for example, reading an inspirational book. Everyone reads the book, and each team member is assigned a specific section they’re responsible for. During an end-of-month meeting, team members lead discussions about their assigned sections. This is a great way for us to learn from one another and create team bonding.

Another example of a team professional goal is getting a certain amount of Google reviews for the month. An important role of the office manager is to ensure that everyone’s goals are SMART goals—specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.

How we implement the system

Now that I’ve shared some of the monthly goals that we have in our practice, here are the steps we take to implement our bonus system.

  • Determine what your daily production goal should be. This amount should be challenging yet attainable for the team members.
  • If we average our daily production goal amount for every patient day of the month, then each team member receives a $200 bonus in their next paycheck.
  • If we meet or exceed the daily production goal amount for every patient day of the month, each team member receives an additional $50. This helps everyone stay focused on the production goals. Our practice management software displays our production on the schedule and team members check throughout the day to see if we’ll make our goal.
  • If the goal is met, the team member receives $50.
  • If their personal goal is met, the team member receives $50.

In total, each team member has the potential to receive a monthly bonus of up to $350. On the last workday of the month, each team member meets individually with the office manager to review his or her monthly professional and personal goals, as well as set new ones for the upcoming month.

Another factor we take into account with our monthly bonus system is attendance. If a team member calls in sick or has any unapproved absences, this negatively affects their bonus. I do not deduct a set amount every time. I take into consideration how many days they missed and the circumstances of the absence. The reason for this is twofold: (1) if they are not at work to help contribute to the daily production goal, then they are not eligible to receive the full production goal bonus, and (2) having this stipulation in place encourages team members to not miss work.

This approach has proven to be highly effective for our practice. One of the great things about this system is that it is truly a team-based bonus. It is not about how much production a person had in their column that day. Everyone needs to work together to achieve the daily production goal. I’ve seen our team rally when it looked like we weren’t going to meet our daily goal.

Patrick Bell, managing director of Genesis Associates, said that when employees work toward a goal as a team, there are more people to help maintain high levels of motivation throughout the incentive period. "When working on a team incentive, there is a collective responsibility and you don't want to let your other team members down,” Bell said. “Therefore, people try harder and generally achieve better results.”

If you’re thinking about implementing a bonus system, I encourage you to consider all the positive results that can be achieved from a team bonus structure.

Kristie Williams is the office manager at Bighorn Pediatric Dentistry in Sheridan, Wyoming. Williams leverages her management background and experience to keep the office running smoothly and ensuring that they provide the best care possible to patients.

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