One of the most rewarding things PMI does on a regular basis is to visit Pediatric practices around the country to help identify opportunities to improve their practice. This is the last of a 5-part series of emails detailing some of the most common things we recommend to our clients.
Annual Employee Bonuses
Many PMI clients have the same approach to annual or Christmas bonuses- they give the employees a set amount each year. Employees have come to expect the same amount every year and really do not have to do anything to earn it. Conversely, Pediatricians have to work hard and see patients to make the financial side of the practice work.
Such bonuses range from $25 gift certificates to as much as a week’s pay for all employees. The ballpark seems to be in the range of $200 – 500 per employee for such bonuses.
This translates to around $0.10 and $0.24 per hour if they are full-time employees. The more disciplined practices set aside this amount every payroll period to ensure that such funds are available at the right time. We all know that setting aside a little bit each month is far easier than a lump sum towards the end of the year. In fact, we would encourage most practices to plan on setting aside $0.30 per hour paid each payroll period if they can.
To maximize the opportunity, why not set specific goals that need to be attained in order for the employees to earn their bonus? If you have two goals for the year, each goal is worth 50% of the bonus payment. Two common goals (that are easy to measure) are:
Sick Well Ratio- Well check visits are a great source of revenue for a practice and an excellent way to stay connected to patients. As such, why not set goals to incentivize the behavior you want? For example, if your current well-check ratio is 30% and you want to increase it to 35%, why not say that half of the annual bonus will only be paid if we reach that goal? It’s amazing how everyone (clinical staff, receptionists and appointment schedulers) constantly remind patients about their checkups when this idea is put into place.
Patient Satisfaction- In a similar vein, if your current patient satisfaction survey results are not where you would like them to be, why not set goals for the practice to attain? As with the Sick-Well Ratio portion of the bonus, if the satisfaction levels are not attained, the employees do not receive that portion of the bonus.
Depending on your EMR, there may be other metrics that can be easily reported on to incorporate into this idea. The trick is to find something that positively affects the practice, the employees can influence and can be easily measured.
Whatever goals you set for your practice, the key is to create buy-in and provide updates every month. By providing an update each month, the employees can track their progress and align their expectation as to whether or not they will receive a bonus at the end of the year.
Want to learn more about such management issues? Be sure to check out PMI's upcoming Pediatric Practice Management Conference in January.