Positioning for high performance with a bonus program

Question: Looking to begin a high performance culture. One of the steps we want to create is an all employee bonus. How do you go about selecting the right behaviors/outcomes company-wide to incent the desired outcome ($profit & efficiency)?

Lori’s Answer

You are looking to “begin” a high performance culture. It will help me to understand your work culture, so please be aware that this answer is given without a complete picture.

Your focus with this question is on connecting “doing the right things right” with a performance bonus.

I have two notes to make about a new bonus program:

  1. Do not reduce wages to make room for the bonus (unless you absolutely must cut labor cost in total)
  2. Be as certain as you can that each role is linked to strategic objectives and that what is measured
    is what counts (to the organization)

Something to keep in mind:
You have also indicated that your purpose for creating this bonus program is to increase efficiency (read: productivity), which will lead to lower costs and, all other things being equal, then lead to higher profit.

Based on this here’s what I’d like you to do:

  1. List out the keywords from your Strategy. These are going to lead you to defining measurable objectives, and finally some metrics that relate to Strategy and to an individual’s daily work.
  2. Create a list of key objectives from this Strategy. For example: Working smart may fit you.
  3. Locate each job description, see if it still fits what you want, and when it does then, map each aspect of the job to a key objective. You could start with the working smart objective then move
    to quality product and customer satisfaction. You may find conflicts between roles (a training opportunity) and even conflicts within a particular role.
  4. Create at least one metric that makes sense for both the role and the strategic objective. For example, a measure related to patient satisfaction might be “wait time.”
  5. Arrange 30 minutes with each employee (with you or their supervisor, as I do not know how large your practice is) to revisit this clearer job description and get the employee’s feedback on how they might achieve each measure… and, here is a powerful part… ask open-ended questions to discover their “WIIFM” related to their role in the practice.

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