Rewarding Your Call Scheduler in a Meaningful Way

How can you reward your remarkable on-call scheduler for his (or her) efforts in a way that can also inspire others? Do they even realize what a meaningful impact their position has within the organization?

After the industry “baseline rewards” of salary, benefits, and a few perks to assure “fairness” are met… then what? David Pink’s book “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” may have some new ideas.

According to Pink, the traditional if/then contingency rewards such as cash bonuses are fine for routine, highly controlled jobs. However, contingency rewards no longer as effective for modern jobs that are complex, self-directed, and require creative thinking such as those involving on-call scheduling for your physicians!

The problem with a strict cash reward is that it usually spent in a relatively short period of time and its effect fades away soon thereafter. Such “bonus” type rewards also tend to focus efforts on short-term results and on the reward itself, rather than the long-haul behavior that sustains the organization and that can be an inspirational example to others. Such short-term focus also encourages burnout of your scheduling “hero” and does not encourage spreading “how-to” knowledge within the on-call scheduling team.

According to Pink, what’s needed are more “now that you already are doing this… then” type rewards to thank your call scheduling staff for the great job they are already doing.

Here are some general reward criteria for the call-scheduling team, inspired by Pink:

    • Rewards in the inform of property, such as household ornaments, create a more lasting effect for the employee. Also, as the staff sees the item in the office, they can remember the reward event and appreciation of hard work. It never fades out of mind the way a cash bonus can.
    • The best rewards are something shared, unique, exciting, memorable, and valuable but not necessarily expensive. Intangible rewards such as a “holiday” or “dinner for two” in a five-star restaurant offer great satisfaction for the individual, while the documentation of the event (pictures and certificates) can be displayed for the team.
    • Team? What team? Don’t forget the backup scheduler or the Physician who runs interference when there is a conflict of opinion regarding who should be taking an assignment or denied a day off!

Here are a few more detailed reward ideas:

    1. An inexpensive but meaningful item to display at home or office, such as a signed certificate, or engraved object such as a clock.
    2. A service the team can share such as in-office gourmet coffee and goodies delivered for a week.
    3. Higher-up or public acknowledgment and announcements with pictures of the event for display.
    4. Certificate for an experience the employee can share with another, such as the five-star dinner for two.
    5. Certificate for a local, personal service the employee likes, such as professional massage or car detailing.
    6. Certificate to Amazon or Starbucks with $100 on it.
    7. Free personal time off in addition to vacation, perhaps an extra Friday afternoon.
    8. A handwritten note of appreciation, signed by the CEO and mailed to their home

Key Takeaway

Don’t forget to reward your exemplary On-Call Schedulers in a meaningful way that can inspire others. It’s time to make these “unsung heroes” visible to the organization they serve.

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