By Roger P. Levin, DDS

May 16, 2019 -- Dr. Roger P. Levin brings you the most thought-provoking topics from the Dental Business Study Clubs, an organization focused on the business of successful dentistry. Each month, Dr. Levin will explore an aspect of the business of dentistry in detail.

Employees like bonuses. Who wouldn't? Bonuses are something you can win with nothing to lose. And when your staff wins a bonus, you'll win as well because overall practice performance is guaranteed to improve.

Unfortunately, many practices don't have bonus systems and others have bonus systems that simply don't work. The good news is that taking the time to improve your bonus systems can be done with minimal effort and maximum benefit.

5 ways

Dr. Roger Levin
Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the executive founder of the Dental Business Study Clubs.

Here's five practical ways you can improve your bonus system.

1. Keep the time frame short

Typical bonus systems are based on annual performance. This is next to useless, as very few people can stay motivated for an entire year trying to earn a bonus. Bonuses should be short-term. A one- or two-month goal seems very achievable and motivation can be kept high -- especially if office leadership acts as cheerleaders, encouraging staff along the way.

2. Make sure your bonus system is clearly defined

What are the rules? Is the goal to hit a certain number or to increase by a certain number? Does each team member have an individual target, or is there a goal for the entire team?

Whatever you choose, make sure that the bonus goal lines up with your practice goals (production, case acceptance, or collections) and that the rules are crystal clear. Over what period of time will team members get a bonus? How much is the bonus? Is everybody eligible for the bonus? What about hourly or part-time employees? All these factors need to be clearly defined.

3. Measure bonus progress every single day

“It will also help to post a sign that highlights the team's progress on a wall where everyone can view it.”

Practices should have a mandatory, 10-minute morning meeting with a 15-point agenda. At Levin Group, we call it the daily business meeting.

One of the agenda items should always address the progress toward the bonus. If you don't discuss it regularly, people will forget. It will also help to post a sign that highlights the team's progress on a wall where everyone can view it. Make it big and colorful so it's noticed every day and serves as a constant reminder to work toward the goal.

4. Provide training to help your team win the bonus

If your bonus goal is focused on customer service, bring in some customer service training. It can be a book, a webinar, a seminar, or a training session from an expert. If you've made the goal of winning the bonus strong enough, many people will work toward implementing the training quickly for their benefit and the benefit of others.

5. Make the bonus bigger than just one individual

If your bonus focuses on the entire team, make sure everyone understands that they are working to help the whole team reach that goal. This is a fantastic team-building exercise. This begins to move the practice from individual performance to team performance, which is always beneficial in a dental practice.

You could even have a bonus team leader. They are not necessarily an authority figure as much as the person monitoring bonus actions every day. They can work with the team to motivate them, energize them, and remind them what you're trying to achieve. They can point out when they're excelling and when they're falling down.

An effective bonus system can help both your staff and your practice win. Use the strategies listed above for maximum success. And remember, the fun doesn't have to end when the bonus goal is achieved. The very best thing you can do if the team wins the bonus is to have a celebration. Bring in champagne, wine, and cheese, take them out for a fun dinner, or send flowers. They won the bonus and the practice has improved, so why not celebrate?

Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the executive founder of the Dental Business Study Clubs.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.


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