One of the keys to good office operations is a skilled and happy staff. Too often physicians do not perceive their office as a business operation and therefore handle staff issues, such as job descriptions, benefits, and compensation in an ad hoc manner. Employees finding themselves in this situation often set low levels of work benchmarks and perpetuate a poor working environment.
In determining, appropriate levels of compensation, a number of steps need to be taken:
1. Identify job responsibilities.
2. Create clearly defined job descriptions.
3. Obtain information on wage rates for equivalent positions from colleagues’ office, general industry, and practice management organizations. Be sure to take into account regional variations.
4. Establish compensation ranges for each position. These ranges will allow for recognition of longevity and periodic raises. Positions with different job descriptions, but comparable levels of responsibility can be assigned to similar pay ranges.
5. Communicate with employees if a bonus system is to be part of the overall compensation package. Guidelines for awarding bonuses need to be established and communicated in writing. Bonuses can be given based on tenure, overall job performance, or special project completion.
6. Employee evaluations are important in any job setting. They are essential if job performance is to be the determining factor for bonuses. Employees, in conjunction with their supervisors should have an opportunity to set goals for the year and to conduct self-evaluations at the end of the year in regard to these established objectives. Supervisor evaluations should also be utilized in determining bonus awards.
7. Alternative forms of compensation include health benefits, comp time, and profit sharing plans. These elements can be used in combination with salary and wage schedules to develop a satisfactory and comprehensive compensation program for employees.
Periodic reviews should be conducted to ensure that compensation packages are appropriate and remain compatible with the general market place.
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