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Carrot & Stick Motivation: The Problem with Luring Medical Staff with a Hiring Bonus

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Staff shortages are not new in the field of critical and medical care. The pandemic has only exacerbated the problem and added to the strain, even putting patients’ lives in danger.  It has also driven a mass exodus of staff, with more than 22% of nurses set to leave their current position within the year. An equal number of nurses are planning to retire or quit the profession altogether.  These are worrying statistics.

Employers are looking for novel ways to retain and recruit more nurses. They’re now providing flexible scheduling options and offering hefty incentives and hiring bonuses. In some instances, nurses are being offered as much as $30,000 for potential candidate recommendations. No wonder ‘hiring bonus’ has become the buzzword in the medical community, with queries for this search term nearly doubling over recent times.

How Does the Hiring Bonus Concept Work?

Hiring bonuses have even managed to increase the number of jobs being posted. But they come with a catch. The bonus is paid only when the new hire goes through probation or continues to be in a post for a specified period. Such checks and balances are necessary to prevent fraud.

Why Does the System Work?

Given the acute shortage of staff, a hiring bonus is the best way to bridge the gap between a candidate’s desired package and the compensation that the employer can actually offer. It also gives employers an extra edge, with a hiring bonus making all the difference between a candidate accepting your offer or not.

Why Do We think This Policy Could Backfire?

Incentives such as signing bonuses do not create a lasting commitment. They merely contribute to a trend when people are constantly on the search for a better reward. This policy is neither sustainable nor desirable in the long term. For instance, what if an employer’s bonus isn’t as good as his competitor’s? Would it affect the type of staff they’re looking to attract?

By trying to outbid a competitor, aren’t employers redirecting their focus and ignoring issues that need immediate resolution? For instance, when many nurses and other frontline care workers fell sick during the pandemic, the existing members must skip breaks, work on weekends, and even miss things they love doing most. No amount of bonus can compensate for the burnout they experienced at work.

What Can They Do Instead?

Rather than trying to outbid competitors with monetary compensation, employers can take a proactive approach to the problem. Does the hospital reward employees who have been with the institution for long? Do they take utmost care to maintain the staff-patient ratio and ensure nurses aren’t stretched beyond their limit? What price for loyalty and long-term hard work and contribution?

How Is PX3 Different?

We do not believe in the one size fits all approach. At PX3, we customize recruitment strategies to match each client and don’t skimp on the range of processes we take to find the right candidate.

For instance, people take up the medical profession for reasons beyond monetary incentives. A sense of vocation drives some while others crave a challenge. Some people need to explore the complexities involved in the medical profession, while many people derive satisfaction from the fact that they can positively impact people’s lives.

We tap into these ambitions, helping medical practitioners find an institution that can match their objectives and goals. Thanks to our unique approach to people placing, we’re trusted by clients that use our services. We help by searching and sifting candidates to ensure employers have the best available talent at the interview table.

Hiring Bonuses Aren't Bad Per Se

But there are better ways to attract talent. Unless the medical fraternity takes concrete steps to ensure nurses are well-rested and physically and emotionally healthy, we will be facing staff shortage issues.

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Author: px3med