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To Cut Costs, Motivate Nurses, Take a Cue From Airlines

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, July 16, 2012

In healthcare finance there is a constant drumbeat to cut costs and that often equates to cutting seemingly non-essentials. But, sometimes by putting small money toward the non-essentials, you can motivate your staff without shelling out big money later.  And you may even find they are able to cut costs.

The longer I'm in the workforce the more I realize what I've learned from my past experience. I'll impart a bit of wisdom gained from my own eclectic work history. Years ago I worked as a sales clerk at a hugely successful cosmetic counter generating over $8 million a year (not bad for a staff of six). What I learned from my manager there was a simple lesson in non-monetary motivation.

As a salaried employee I was paid no matter what I sold. Retail hours are long and de-motivating, which meant sales and service could be jeopardized. Recognizing this, my manager and the cosmetic company employed a highly effective, incentive approach to keep the staff engaged and sales and service high.

To ensure the staff showed up to work, and picked up extra shifts if someone was sick, each month employees received free makeup via a system that was based on the number of hours an employee worked. In addition, for products that it wanted sold in greater numbers the company attached a tangible reward. For instance, if we sold over 200 of X product in a month, we received an expensive Tiffany bracelet.

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