Anatomy of an Employee Bonus

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media , February 11, 2013

An incentive, not a motivator or entitlement
Slutsky offers one caveat: "You have to be careful that when you do something special, you don't raise expectations that there's going to be consistent special items...

You want a reward as often as possible, but as soon as it becomes routine it becomes an entitlement and not only does it lose its effectiveness, but people begin to expect it and if you don't do it, people get upset. That's a balance between doing something that's personal and showing people you care and creating an entitlement mentality."

"We couldn't have done this without the financial offset to our first quarter operating income," says Heller. "I attribute our really successful first quarter to a highly motivated, highly engaged workforce. The quality of care we provide our patients continues to improve year over year, and we're extremely proud of the results we've achieved."

I've got another caveat: Money is not a cure for job dissatisfaction. To an employee with a large credit card bill, an unexpected January bonus will certainly be a financial stress reducer. But it will not negate the misery of an unmotivated worker floundering in a workplace that doesn't meet his or her needs.

One of the responsibilities of the human resource department is to create the most productive, engaging, encouraging, and supportive work environment possible. Organizations have a responsibility to empower them to do so.

Chelsea Rice is an associate editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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