Who said building a practice has to be drudgery? Bonuses make practicing fun. Everyone likes a challenge and being rewarded for hitting a goal. The intelligent addition of goals with bonuses can make your practice fun again. When you give your chiropractic assistants and associates incentives for referrals and work, they will fill your appointment book and perform their work better. Everybody wins!
However, before I describe the various bonus systems that work, there are several rules that govern bonuses.
Only give bonuses if they are legal in your state. Beware: some states consider bonusing for referrals or collections to be fee splitting. Please check your state law before adding a bonus system.
Don’t expect your staff to work harder without paying them more (bonuses). It’s against human nature. Always reward (bonus) them for hitting office goals.
Don’t give bonuses to get a job done. That’s what a CA’s base salary is for. Give your CAs bonuses for doing their jobs exceptionally well. I recommend doctors pay the staff a lower weekly/monthly pay with multiple bonuses that equal 12-14% of the doctor’s deposits.
All bonuses should be large enough to excite your staff and easy to attain. Make sure the people being bonused know they can get their bonus with only a slight additional exertion on their part. If it looks easy to them, they’ll go for it. If it looks hard they won’t move.
All bonuses should be restricted to a maximum of three months. CAs get bored when bonuses last more than 90 days. When one bonus is finished always have a period of at least six weeks before putting another bonus in place. Any bonus system longer than three months is ineffective.
Sometimes CAs object to bonus systems. Most CAs would rather have their salaries raised rather than getting bonuses. They would rather do the same amount of work and be paid more. Who wouldn’t?
All bonuses should be for the attainment of daily or weekly goals, if possible. Any longer period of time reduces the staff’s chance of getting the bonuses. If you have a monthly bonus, your staff won’t look to see if they’re chose to their goal (bonus) until the last week of the month. Then, if they are close to their goal (bonus), they’ll work like the dickens to get their bonuses. Unfortunately, they didn’t work extra hard the first three weeks of the month. Daily and weekly goals motivate all staff members all four weeks of the month.
Try to have your bonuses cover numerous functions of your office, i.e., new patients, patient visits, collections and services.
Try not to have bonuses for just one area of your practice, i.e., collections, because when CAs concentrate on one function of your practice (such as collections), the rest of your practice will suffer. In this case your collections will increase and your new patients, patient visits and services will decrease.
Keep all CA salaries and bonuses to 12-14% of your deposits. If you spend more than 14% of your deposits for CA salaries and bonuses, you’re throwing your money away. And, if your CA’s bonuses and salaries total less than 12-14%, this means you’re a scrooge.
When establishing a bonus system remember money isn’t the only motivator. Consider using gift certificates, a watch, a half day off, an extra vacation day, weekend destination close to home, weekend destination away from home such as Disney World and so forth.
Display your goals in plain sight of your staff members, but out of sight of your patients. Display the staff’s rewards (bonuses) next to their goals and update their progress toward their goals daily.
All bonuses must be easy for your staff to compute. The persons being bonused must be able to easily tally their score in five seconds at any time. Complicated goals, which are almost impossible to calculate, will turn off your staff and defeat your bonus system. If a bonus takes longer than five seconds to calculate, it won’t motivate your staff.
Have staff meetings once or twice a week to promote your bonus program and to keep your staff motivated. The more you “promote” the greater your results.
At the end of the bonus period give your staff lots of praise.
Pay the bonuses on time. If you are ever late paying a bonus you’ll never be able to motivate your staff to go for a bonus again.
Sometimes it’s better to have individual goals as we’ll as office goals. We can control our own actions but can’t control another person’s work or motivation.
TOTAL OFFICE BONUSES
Office Goals Bonus
Determine the record weekly number of new patients, patient visits, collections and services.
Whenever your office breaks two records in one week, the CAs will receive a bonus of $50 each.
Whenever your office breaks three records in one week, the CAs will receive $75 each.
Whenever the office breaks all four records in one week, the CAs will receive $100 each.
Whenever they break two months records, the CAs will receive $50 each.
Whenever they break three months records the CAs will receive $75 each.
Whenever they break four months records, the CAs will receive $100 each.
INDIVIDUAL CA BONUSES
Front Desk CA Bonus #1.
Take previous three months averages and add 10%. This is the CA’s new goal.
When the collection goal is broken, bonus the CA $50.
When the services goal is broken, bonus the CA $50.
When the patient visit goal is broken, bonus the CA $50.
When the new patient goal is broken, bonus the CA $50.
Two records have to be broken before any bonuses are paid.
Front Desk CA Bonus #2.
Take the previous three month’s averages and add 10%. This is the CA’s new goal.
Bonus the CA 1% of collections over the goal.
Bonus the CA 1% of services over the goal.
Bonus the CA $2 for each patient visit over the goal.
Bonus the CA $10 for each new patient over the goal.
Therapy CA Bonus.
Give a $50 bonus for a record patient visit week.
Insurance CA Bonus.
Give a bonus of $50 per month for collections over 90%.
Give a bonus of $100 per month for collections over 95%.
Give the CA a bonus of 5% of collections of accounts receivables six months old or older.
Associate Bonus Rules.
Bonus the best associate, not the worst associate.
The doctor with the highest office visit average sets the referrals.
Bonus the hitter, not the bat boy.
Associate Production Bonus.
Determine the associate’s record month of new patients, referrals, patient visits, collections and services. Then add 10%. This is the associate’s new goal.
If the associate hits four out of the above five goals one month, as a bonus you will lease him/her a car up to $500 per month.
Each successive month pay a $125 bonus towards the car lease for each of the goals they hit. The associate pays the rest.
If the associate breaks all five records in a month, s/he will get an additional $250 bonus.
The car will be in the associate’s name.
Keep the associate’s mind on the $50,000 value of the car.
If an associate can hit higher goals every time, the goals are too low. If s/he can’t hit the goals, these goals are too high.
Doctors, this article contains examples of bonus structures that will aid your practice. Naturally, it doesn’t contain all possible bonuses, if it did this article would become a book. Have fun, enjoy your practice and motivate yourself and your staff to hit new goals and reward them for efforts. Everyone will enjoy practice more and everyone will benefit financially. Good luck to you.
Dr. Peter G. Fernandez is a 1961 Logan College graduate. As past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association, he has been a practice consultant for the last 17 years, consulting in the opening of more than 1,500 practices and servicing approximately 5,000 DC’s. Dr. Fernandez can be reached at Fernandez Discipline, 7777 131st Street North, Suite 15, Seminole, FL 33776, or by calling 1-800-88-CHIRO (1-800-882-4476).