Have you noticed that the staff members of your dental practice have been a tad less energetic and a tad less motivated in their work of late? This is quite natural as staff enthusiasm tends to ebb and rise at different periods in their careers.
How do you give them a little boost so that they get the motivation to give their best while also enjoying what they do, rather than just considering it as a chore that needs to get done? How about a bonus system for your dental staff? A little compensation can go a long way.
Maybe your dental team works just as diligently as they always did. You can’t complain about anyone’s performance as everyone is pulling their weight equally and contributing their maximum. How do you show them their efforts are not going unnoticed and that their personal interest in the well-being of the practice is appreciated? Again, a little compensation like a bonus system can go a long, long way.
I entered the dental profession in 1980 and have always been a fan of the bonus/compensation system. It has helped me attract and retain the best in the industry for my practice and has contributed in a major way to our success. If you listen to my Thriving Dentist podcast, you will know to what extent this bonus scheme has helped propel my practice forward.
What exactly is a bonus system?
A proper bonus is a compensation scheme that rewards the hard work and enthusiasm of employees in any company including in a dental practice like mine. It rewards work done above and beyond one’s normal performance.
A bonus is bound to keep staff members motivated to give their maximum towards the good of the practice as well as themselves. A well-designed scheme to offer incentives for dental staff gives them a sense of pride to work in a place that recognizes and appreciates their efforts.
How has the bonus system helped me?
I take pride in having the best team members who have been with me for years. My bonus incentives have helped me attract and retain this team.
Why should you have a bonus system?
A well-designed bonus system aligns the goals of the owner with those of the team members. Additional rewards give them a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. It motivates them to earn the bonus which will boost their income, enabling them to enjoy a few extra dollars in their pockets.
For a bonus system to be effective, it should be measurable and achievable. It gives your team members a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment and focuses on helping everyone come together. Members work hard to achieve their common goals and receive a bonus check as a reward.
What are the guidelines for a proper bonus system?
As explained by me in my podcast, I have laid out four main guidelines for the bonus plan for my dental team. These are:
- A win-win situation for all – The system should benefit both you and your team members. It won’t be a success if you give it half-heartedly; and also if you have to bear a financial loss in giving it out.
- A system that is easy and clear to understand – It should be simple and uncomplicated so all the team members can understand it well. This prevents you from constantly answering their questions on how the scheme has been devised. My staff finds our dental office bonus system easy-to-understand and easy-to-achieve.
- As immediate as possible – An annual rewards scheme is not very wise as the staff members have to wait exactly one full year to get their next bonus. This makes them lose their focus midway into the year. Set them targets, and reward them monthly or quarterly if those targets are achieved. My team members have been great at working towards their goals, and in turn, achieving goals for our practice.
- Should be tied to a specific measurable goal – The goals should be specific and measurable instead of being vague. This would enable the team members to know exactly what they should do and how they should perform in order to achieve their goals and be rewarded through a team bonus system. For the scheme to be repeatable, it should be measurable because then everyone would be clear on their targets. Of course, you should let your team know that these goals have been set out for them.
You can learn more about how I have implemented the bonus scheme at our practice by listening to my Thriving Dentist podcast. I explain these guidelines very clearly and you are sure to pick a few points which will help you in your own practice.
Bonus schemes come in several different varieties. You can study these schemes and decide which would best suit the requirements and capacity of your practice:
- Starter Bonus – Simple, straightforward, and easy to understand, this bonus scheme is ideal for a practice which hasn’t had a bonus till then or had a scheme which had been inactive for a while. You should set a specific goal to be achieved by your team members, for example, the number and frequency of Google reviews received by your dental practice.
The entire team can be rewarded based on the reviews. Regardless of each member’s salary and their daily or hourly rate, their bonus should take into account their skills, experience, and contribution to the practice. If they achieve double the target they had been set, they should get double the bonus. This would motivate them to give even more and at a consistent rate.
- Individual Bonus – I love this bonus scheme as it enables you to direct a person on to something they have some control over. Every team member can be directed to a specific area without requiring a lot of administration.
This is the scheme I currently have at my practice, LifeSmiles. It has worked well for us. We have a bonus for each member of my team based on something that they have some effect on, although they may not have 100 percent control over it.
- Fun Bonus – A dental practice can set a daily production goal and if the team members achieve that goal, everyone receives a bonus for that day. It is super immediate because it happens daily, but the bonus is paid monthly. It is a fun bonus, for instance, it could be a spa day for the team or a grab bag.
- Team Bonus – This bonus is designed on growing the practice. A monthly goal is set for collection at the practice, aiming at double-digit growth. Average growth figures for the previous year can be considered to decide on the goal. And the next month’s goal could be 10 percent higher than that, and so on. If that rate is achieved every month, all team members get a bonus.
The idea of a dental assistant’ bonus system is to motivate team members to feel as if they are a part of the overall scheme: That they should all put their hearts and minds into it and work together to achieve the same goals and objectives. Then the practice will grow, which will eventually make them winners.
You too can implement your own bonus scheme to suit your dental practice by taking the above points into consideration. You can expand your knowledge on the topic much further by listening to my Thriving Dentist podcast. I welcome you to listen, ask questions, and actively take part. Ultimately, it is about you, your practice, and your team!
I hope this article will help you to set up a goal and to achieve it successfully with the support of a proper bonus system.
Please share with us your favorite bonus system. I would love to hear from you.
In my latest podcast episode on this topic, I will be sharing answers to the questions below:
- How do I know if my practice can afford to add a bonus system?
- Gary, should there be a waiting period for new team members before they are included in a bonus?
- I have heard you talk about the idea of providing a bonus to drive a particular KPI in the practice, can you please provide a few more examples of what KPIs to consider for this type of bonus system?
- Do you recommend sticking to a bonus system for a long period or should I mix it up now and again?