Although financial rewards can certainly motivate your staff to be more efficient or energetic in their work habits, it turns out that creating an atmosphere where employees feel valued is an even more powerful incentive. At The Institute of Podiatric Excellence and Development (IPED) we have had the opportunity to talk with many practitioners and hear what works best in their offices. What we’ve learned is that medical assistants, when asked, “What motivates you most at work?” most often give answers such as “employer gratitude,” “respect” and a “sense of fulfillment.”

Non-tangible rewards can be hard to define, but a good place to start is by changing the environment in your office. Many bosses look for what’s wrong in their practices. Tom Peters, in his book A Passion for Excellence, challenges his readers to look for what’s right.

Here are some other suggestions for non-monetary incentives:

  • Sincerely thanking staff members when they do a good job. This can be verbally, a Post-it note left on the desk, an email or even a handwritten card.

  • Public acknowledgements such as “employee of the month” or some other way to thank staff in a way that’s visible to everyone in the office. Just make sure your gratitude is sincere and the work being rewarded is substantial. Frivolous or gratuitous rewards will be ridiculed and not valued.

  • Allow ownership. What this means is allowing competent staff to take responsibility for an aspect of the practice without micro-managing them. Sometimes the best reward is the satisfaction of a job well done.

At IPED, our members have many opportunities to share experiences and exchange information and ideas that benefit each individual practice and elevate the industry as a whole. To learn more about our organization, contact Executive Director, Ruth Ann Donahue at: 978-296-7634.

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