A report out this week highlights lifetime bonuses for NHS Consultants. Let me say that slowly,
LIFE TIME BONUSES
That means exactly what it says. Large pay bonuses cannot be taken away from doctors, even if their performance deteriorates.
More than half of the 36,000 consultants in England receive “lifetime” awards on top of their £89,400 basic pay, worth more than £75,000 a year to the best-performing consultants.
I am not making a judgement as to the worth of a Doctor. Sure, I question the world in which we live where we reward a Banker above that of a Doctor, or for that matter a Nurse or Carer. You cannot place a value on saving a human life. What I question is any environment in which bonuses are not bonuses but an entitlement. This is not the fault of Doctors but the fault of Management and in particular a lack of leadership.
It is a responsibility of leadership to understand what constitutes great performance. It is a responsibility of leadership to communicate that understanding, to ensure everybody knows what great performance looks like, how its measured, how it’s evidenced. It is a responsibility of leadership to create the conditions for great performance, to create a culture of recognition and compensation that rewards great performance. Set stretching goals and objectives. Give people every chance to realise those goals, incentivise them to reach those goals and reward handsomely when they reach them.
Bonuses should be the exception, not the norm. The norm is what you get paid your salary for. The norm is what you get paid for turning up and doing your very best every day. A bonus should not be something to which you are entitled, but something that you earn for doing something exceptional. A bonus should be exactly that. A bonus.