9.4.15 Issue #704 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

How to Reward Your Employees
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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Your Patient Coordinator, Emily, spent extra time reaching out to past due patients last month and has made a commitment to provide any patient who calls or visits the practice with exceptional customer service. She’s even taken steps to improve her telephone skills beyond the training you offered, all on her own, and her dedication to the practice has paid off – patient retention rates are up and so are revenues. You want to reward Emily for her exceptional work, but you’re not sure how. You used to rely on bonus plans, but now you know why bonuses just don’t work.

To help keep your staff members motivated, I recommend implementing a rewards program. Define practice objectives and make it clear exactly what you’re trying to achieve. This puts all your team members on the same page, and lets them know how they can earn both monetary and non-monetary rewards.

Giving Rewards
When you implement a rewards program, you also have to determine what rewards you’ll offer. Many doctors give rewards based on what they like, but remember everyone is different. For your program to be successful, you have to offer the right kind of rewards. If you give your Patient Coordinator a gift certificate to a restaurant she doesn’t like, for example, it’s not really much of a reward, and it won’t motivate her to continue to excel.

Think about what might motivate each individual employee. Some might place more value on extra paid vacation time, while others might prefer a handwritten note from you expressing your gratitude. You can ask what motivates them, or have them fill out a questionnaire to find out what aspects of job satisfaction they find most important. You can find an example in my manual, How To Reward Your Dental Team.

Another tip? Listen to casual conversations among staff members and observe their habits to find out what really makes them tick. What do they like to do on the weekends? What do they do on their lunch hour? What hobbies do they enjoy? This can help you come up with rewards that will motivate individual team members to excel.

Don’t forget to set guidelines. You have to make sure employees understand why you’re giving them a reward, and that they know the relationship between what they have accomplished and the reward they received. I also recommend setting a timeline for giving rewards. Let me give you an example. If your Patient Coordinator achieved a 93% patient retention rate after 30 days and the goal was 85%, make sure the reward is given after 30 days, not at the end of the quarter or the end of the year.

Types of Rewards
Not everyone is motivated by money. Some employees would prefer a simple thank you or acknowledgement from you for a job well-done. Here are a few examples of non-monetary rewards your team members will appreciate:

• Frequent positive feedback  
• Sending a personal note of achievement to their home. This is something they can keep as a reminder of their success, and share with family and friends.
• Offer an “Employee of the Month” award
• Take the time to teach a team member a new skill
• Give them new tasks and responsibilities to help them grow
• Make them responsible for training a new employee
• Send them home early on their work anniversary
• Give them their birthday off, and remember to give them a gift
• Send flowers to their home, or have them waiting in the office when they arrive in the morning
• Take an employee and their spouse to dinner
• Plan the next staff meeting somewhere outside of the office, like the local zoo or a museum.

There are also monetary rewards you can give your team members. Remember, giving monetary rewards doesn’t mean a hike in pay or a bonus. Here are some ideas:

• Extra paid vacation
• Gift certificates to their favorite restaurants or department stores
• A plaque or a trophy
• A watch or a pin
• Tickets to a sporting event or the theater
• Continuing education courses
• A health club membership
• Paying their membership to an auxiliary organization

It’s Worth the Effort
If you want to keep good employees, you have to reward them when they exceed expectations. Developing a rewards program might seem costly and time consuming, but trust me, you’ll spend more time and money trying to replace these employees when they leave because they don’t feel appreciated.

Recognizing their efforts with rewards that they value will motivate team members to excel, and will make them feel a deeper connection to your practice. They’ll be happy to come to work each day, and they’ll be more efficient and productive while they’re there, all helping your practice finally meet true success and profitability.

Still not sure how to best implement a rewards program in your practice? Feel free to contact me. I’m happy to help.

For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
Interested in having McKenzie Management Seminars speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.
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