How to create a fair wage structure for your medical practice

Your wage structure can vary widely depending on whether your practice is new, with freshly hired staff, or is older, with staff that have been with the practice for many years. For instance, you may find your office in the awkward position of having a long-term medical receptionist who makes more money than newly hired registered nurses. These apparent inequities can create resentment among staff. Your practice can generally handle this, though, via a smart wage structure and policy.

Research and detail matter

Developing a fair wage structure requires adequate research and detailed job descriptions. For example, to determine appropriate pay scales for specific jobs, you may want to research websites like PayScale, Indeed and Randstad. Professional organizations also provide guidelines for pay scales, and many take geographic variations into consideration.

Keeping detailed, up-to-date job descriptions on file enables practice managers to better understand each position’s job qualifications, experience requirements and responsibilities. All of these elements will play a role in fair compensation. Your practice should allow room to “customize” pay if a particular staffer’s expertise or duties surpass the bounds of his or her job description and bring extra value to the practice.

Benefits and perks help retain staff

It’s also important to consider the value of benefits, such as health insurance, paid time off and holidays, flexible scheduling, and continuing education opportunities. Of course, benefits are somewhat dependent upon the practice’s profitability, but they can be extremely significant to employees.

Your practice can choose to offer other potential perks — though not as a substitute for a competitive wage and benefits. These perks can range from a casual work environment, to Pizza Friday (or Taco Tuesday), to bonuses, trips or incentives.

Compensation structures are key

After your practice has evaluated all of these factors, you can:

  • Create a pay range for each position based on experience, education and unique skills,
  • Decide on your practice’s level of pay transparency — typically, ranges and bonus programs should be transparent, but not individual salaries,
  • Determine amounts for initial offers, starting with pay levels for basic skills and then adding “soft skills” such as personality and emotional intelligence,
  • Be willing to negotiate, and
  • Get to know the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rules, which address minimum salary requirements for exempt and nonexempt employees.

These steps will go a long way toward helping you generate a wage structure and set of policies.

Regular reviews keep staff involved and engaged

Finally, schedule regular reviews of not only your staff, but of your salary and benefits packages. These may require periodic adjustment based on inflation or the success of your practice. If you are willing to do this, everybody will understand that the success of the practice is directly linked to their success.

Topics: wages