Incentivize your Team: Bonus (Part I of II)

In today’s environment we are seeing more doctors looking at some sort of incentive based compensation system for their dental practice team members.


We are often asked what the incentive based compensation system should look like to help make it successful. Typically, when we are asked, most doctors just want the details of the system and then they want to put it in place and hope it works. However, before we go to that level we need to address some things that are more important than the details of the numbers and formula.

More important than the formula, for the success of an incentive based system, are the less tangible and peripheral items. What am I talking about? Well let’s cover a few of them.


Effective leadership; this is probably the single most important aspect of any effective system. Effective leadership is vital to a well-run dental team. There is no compensation system that can compensate for ineffective leadership. Too often we see that ineffective leaders try to mask or cover for their shortcomings with bonuses or raises. This does not work and causes a number of problems. So if you want to create an effective compensation system; first take a good look at your leadership skills and make sure you first work on your leadership effectiveness.

Employees must fully understand the compensation system. It must be easy to understand, not too complicated and then time must be taken to make sure team members fully understand it. The system will totally lose its effectiveness if employees do not understand it.


Care must be taken to ensure that the system does not reward poor performers. The team members know who the higher performers are and who the poor performers are. If the compensation system ends up rewarding poor performers then the system might act as a disincentive for the entire team.

Finally, doctors, you have to make sure you fully understand the system and understand that it may result in higher compensation for the team members. You have to make sure to remember that if the system is set up correctly and it is working properly, then this higher compensation means that your practice is making more money and is more profitable. You must not sabotage your own system just to save some bonuses paid to staff.


It is exciting to see an effective incentive based compensation system working well in a dental practice; the results can be very impressive. Before implementing a system make sure all of the pieces are in place to ensure it is an effective system and has the highest potential for success.

In part II we will go over more of the details of an incentive based compensation system.

Please make sure to contact us if you have any questions or if you want to discuss effective leadership.

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