Optometric Management Tip # 273   -   Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Staff Bonus Programs

Many eye care practitioners believe that a bonus or incentive program for staff is a smart way to increase optical sales and improve performance. That was how I worded misconception # 5 in my top ten list. My sense is that staff incentive programs are becoming more popular than ever and are now widely accepted as the best way to increase sales. I wish to challenge that thinking.

As with most of the misconceptions on my list, I tried this strategy in my own practice and studied it closely before coming up with the opposite point of view. Here are the main problems I have with staff bonus programs.

One final reason that I question the effectiveness of staff bonus and spiff programs is that I see in my own practice that optical sales and other revenue can be excellent with no incentives at all. It is simply part of the job description for our technicians and opticians to educate patients on eyeglass and contact lens options. Staff members take pride in that aspect of their job and itís just not necessary to pay extra for it. The doctors play a big role in this process also, in the exam room. The practice can become a system thatís bigger than any individual and that system creates sales.

Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management