How Are You Rewarding Doctors For Innovating?

Physician employment contracts include many things. But, few actually say anything about how doctor employees would be rewarded for innovating.

Physician employment contracts include many things. But, few actually say anything about how doctor employees would be rewarded for innovating.

That is unfortunate, since to sustain an innovation focus in a business, organizations must change their evaluation and compensation structures. Few, if any, organizations have well-defined criteria to evaluate work associated with innovation.

The mixed message is that sick care and academic employers want innovation, but, at same time, they are vague or silent about how they will reward people who do it.

Here are some ways to turn expectancy theory of motivation into practice:

1. Be clear about your definition of innovation and your strategic priorities

2. Agree on how you will measure it and when

3. Make innovation part of your employee development, promotion, and tenure process

4. Don't confuse newness with innovation and with individual contributions v. team success.

5. Reward those who innovate with what they value. Some want things other than money.

6. Be transparent about your innovation reward system, defining IP ownership issues, downstream revenue sharing

agreements, and spin out support options.

7. Eliminate annual performance reviews

8. Be sure there is a clear link between achieving innovation benchmarks and timelines and the likelihood that performers will be rewarded

9. Minimize the time between performance and rewards

10. Showcase champions and high performers to make them your best "salespeople"

You need to lead innovators, not manage innovation. That means rewarding them for the right things, with the right incentives, at the right time.