Reward System for Health Care Management

The workforce is the most important resource that any organization has. Effective management entails proper planning and strategizing so as to formulate goals and objectives to be achieved during a given timeline. To achieve this, the employees must share in the organization’s dreams and aspirations. A right reward system motivates the employees who feel being part of the ownership of the institutions they are working for. This generates much energy and enthusiasm and work performance improves and this is reflected by the productivity of either goods or the services being offered. According to Hunt (1979 p.29), each person has a profile of goals that one intends to achieve and these are acquired through inheritance and the experiences achieved during childhood. Psychologically a reward serves as a positive reinforcer and increases the intensity of the behavior. This encourages the culture of hard work in workplaces. One of the greatest principles of management is the recognition that all that is rewarded gets done and with the required competency. Michael Le Boeuf goes further to say that when you reward a given behavior you will always get more of it and you don’t get what you hope for, wish for, or beg for but always what you reward. To have an effective health care system, there arises a need for the administration to establish a way of keeping the employees motivated in their duties. This has resulted in competent managers adopting reward systems for their employees to improve production. An effective reward system pays for the excellent performance of the employees, entices them to increase performance, creates and restores a positive working culture, and ultimately improves the institutional output either in profit terms or excellent services. This essay explains how managers in the health care sector ensure the best productivity by the creation of the right reward system.

Reward management system

A reward system is a set of procedures, regulations and standards that must be adhered to when awarding benefits and compensations to the workforce. According to psychology, positive reinforcement of the desired behavior has been shown to increase the tendency of that behavior being repeated over and over again (Worall et al 1999, p.467). Hunt notes that anytime a person seeks employment, he or she must be ready to lose something and at the same time have some gains. For the employees to feel motivated, the rewards must exceed the losses gained. This is done by offering of rewards that are either intrinsic or extrinsic. He classified them into six categories and these are; common benefits which include vacations sick leaves and pension, individual rewards which are salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses and merit awards. The group awards are the group incentives and group parties, and then there are compliance awards which are offered for satisfying the company’s expectation of you. The fifth reward system is job satisfaction which involves intrinsic satisfaction and challenge. Finally, there is goal congruence where the employees and organization share the same goals (Hunt, p.40).

Different people depending on their age groups are motivated differently to things. Past puberty peer group friendships take the place of parental influence and this group spends most of their time searching for relationships. Career choice is accompanied by many problems as major body changes do occur at this stage. By early thirties more energy is channeled to careers thus having a high sense of achievement and satisfaction. The rewards of autonomy or recognition are stimulated and satisfied partly. During the mid career stage there is more energy releases as demands for possessions, power, and more money increase. In the forties, there is a shift of interest from careers in some people to leisure while others question relationships. At this stage managers realize they are no longer upcoming stars and nights never go beyond where they are. Finally, at the age of retirement where there is a feeling of contentment as comfort and relationship now warrant much attention as goals of recognition, power, autonomy, creativity and growth. There is an energy transfer from employment to other activities. Various people react differently to different types of rewards with some appreciating comfort, relationships, recognition while others value autonomy and power (Hunt, p.36-37).

Levels of the given rewards may be based on different criteria depending on the operational manager. Some managers prefer performance appraisal systems to determine whether an employee qualifies while others may be determined by how long you are in service at the institution or the type of specialization you are involved in. This system does an analysis and controls payment to employees and covers all the rewards and benefits that the health care sector offers. It considers the effects the rewards and benefits will have to both the employees as well as the institutions.

To ensure improved productivity and proper working relationships in an organization, the reward system should be in line with the culture of the organization, its structure and should be within its strategies. It should be aimed at recognizing results as a result of exceptionally hard work of some or all employees so as to encourage a certain behavior in the institution. This may be teamwork spirit or individual hard work. To reduce conflicts with other priorities in the health sector, the reward system should be practicable and easy to implement. It should have been planned for and incorporated in the year’s financial plan to avoid going into debts as a result. For any given plan to sail through and receive support from all concerned sectors, consultation is of great importance. It is for this reason that operations manager should consult widely with all the employees on the best way to reward them, that is, whether intrinsic or extrinsic form of rewards. Finally, the rewards given to the employees should be reflective of the current market values. Rewards are meant to be motivational and it would be very detrimental to offer a worthless reward to an employee. He/she would feel much neglected and cheap leading to demoralization and the productivity lowers consequently. According to Williams, Pitre and Zainuba (2002, p.40), when employees feel there is fair and just interactions; they have are motivated to perform activities that are beneficial to the organizations they work for.

Like other institutions, the health care sector has developed certain methods which they employ to achieve the qualities desired in the workforce. According to Worral, Campbell & Cooper (2000, p.465), the effective management of change enhances loyalty and employees become motivated in performing their duties. The methods developed are either for positive reinforcement that encourages certain desirable qualities or for negative reinforcement to discourage minimize and cause to extinct certain behaviors which are detrimental to productivity. The first method is the selection of highly competent workforce who is likely to bring with them some required or expected behavioral characteristics. This is done through the process of recruitment where the candidates for certain posts ie healthcare are vetted before being employed. The highly competent and promising to possess a greater will for adaptation to the institutions culture are offered the chances and monitored overtime. The supervising managers may at times decide to use any power under their exposure to ensure adoption of certain qualities. This involves reprimanding of the behavior not required through suspension or worse still dismissal of the employees who are not willing to change. Finally a system of rewarding the health care workers may be established that positively reinforce the desired behavior in the institution.

There are many reasons for importance of a reward system. These reasons include the following; they improve the organizations effectiveness, they do support and promote productive culture and guides in changing the detrimental behaviors, they enhance improved skills, a sense of fairness and equity is achieved and there is integration and motivation of employees.

Types of rewards

Rewards makes an organization meets its desired outcomes, makes employees have a nice feeling about what they have achieved and gives them energy to gain more achievements. They also work together with motivation to bring the desired qualities at a cost that is effective to the institution (Spitzer, 1998.p.47). There are two types of rewards that can be awarded to employees. These are the intrinsic or task rewards and the extrinsic rewards. The intrinsic rewards involve individual perception on how you feel about the job, whether it’s fair or unfair to you, and arises from the nature of jobs. This involves the challenges that are met and must be overcome during working. The lesser the challenges the more the satisfied an employee is concerning his/her job. The second factor in intrinsic rewards is being recognized for your input in achieving the objectives of the health care facility. This is through constant feedback on the position the organization is in. The third factor is growth in career. This involves the organization offering continued education to its work force through offering of scholarships to ensure they are up to date with current information on their specializations. For example, many health institutions assist the health professionals to further their studies in their areas of specialization. Finally there is goal identification where an employee adopts the organizations goals and personifies them as if they were his/her own.

Extrinsic rewards may be either group rewards or individual. Group rewards are offered to all members of a certain group as recognition for an achieved goal. For example, after performing a successful surgery a group of surgeons are rewarded for working as a team. Organizational managers should ensure rewards are given for exemplary performance in the health sector. These rewards may take the form of bonuses, increasing their time for leisure, receiving special treatments like being hosted for after work dinners or vacations and being recognized during public gatherings with presents or certificates of excellence (Kerrin & Oliver, 2002, p.325).

Individual extrinsic rewards are very common in many organizations and take various forms. After a research in Hong Kong, Chiu et al (2002,p.403), reports that the preferred rewards which greatly motivated and retained employees in China were increase in salaries, merit pay, receiving overtime allowance and individual allowances. Other forms used in health care institutions are; medical insurance for the employees and their families, personal loans with no or little interests, entertainment allowances and even payment for their children’s school fees. Reward management has for long now been demonstrated to be effective in boosting of morale within the work force. Since the enactment of various government policies in the 1990s, this innovative approach has achieved a lot in promoting proper health care (Siegall& Worth, 2001, p.650).

A reward system should work in harmony with all employees so as to cultivate a sense of belongingness to the institution. An ideal reward system is able to equalize the rewarding of the employees be it group or individual rewards. It rewards without discrimination celebrating the success of employees. It reduces dissatisfaction of the employees’ towards promotion and appraisal system. It also reduces work related stress which may arise as a result of inequity in reward. An ideal system would reduce perceptual gap on reward system and improve productivity.

In a health care setting, the reward systems used are most times not very supportive to the employees. The medical personnel are neglected as more attention is paid on acquisition of drugs and other priorities. This has left the medical fraternity demoralized as they are left to spend their lives in operation rooms and wards. Establishment of an appropriate reward system will be able to fill this gap in perceptions and medical care will increase. Health care professionals should receive acclaims for their contributions and offered already paid for trainings to motivate them. Annual payed leave of duty should be included in their busy schedules to offer time to rest.

Advantages of a reward system

When employees in the health care sector are compensated through awards of rewards, it encourages them to work cooperatively to achieve a common objective. This creates a culture of team work in the institutions and this behavior is reinforced. During rewards of various prizes, the goals and priorities of the organization are mentioned again to the workforce. The rewards system encourages flexible working in the institutions and the employees are able to multi-task in their activities. On receiving the awards, the employees perceive their organization as fair in payment thus they are highly motivated. When a part of a well performing department is rewarded, it encourages those departments which have minimal results to improve so as to be recognized and receive awards like the rest of them. When this happens maximum output in terms of improved health care to all is achieved and the institutions are able to meet both their long term and short term goals. A competent organizational manager should work towards achieving this (Miller, 1995, p.60).

Disadvantages of a reward system

Despite having many advantages, a reward system can have detrimental effects both at individual level and collectively. Failure to reward a section of employees in an institution reduces their self-worth by gaining an attitude of the being the failures in the organization. When the reward system is team based, individual efforts are masked and this can discourage some members from in putting extra efforts in their duties. Finally, reward system may prejudice the flexibility of the organization. This occurs when a team that has the highest performance in the organization may be unwilling to change from their current form to join other teams.


On conclusion, a reward system that is efficient in rewarding best performers in health care should be established. The health care sector is a very important department in any country since it deals with matters of disease, death or health. An organization should work towards instilling morale to their employees through various motivational processes. Humans are psychologically affected in their duties and it is for this reason that a reward system is established. It recognizes the good work of a section of the work force in providing efficient health care. Managers should create appropriate rewards systems that is equal and does no discriminate to improve productivity in health care because you get what you reward.


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Hunt, J. W. 1979. Managing People at Work: A Manager’s Guide to Behavior in Organizations. New York, McGraw-Hill International

Kerrin, M. and Oliver, N., 2002 ‘Collective and individual improvement activities: the role of reward systems’ Personnel Review, 31 (3), pp320-337

Miller, N.A., 1995 ‘Flexible benefits – a new approach to employee benefits’. CPA Journal, (7), pp60-61.

Siegall, M. and Worth, C., 2001 ‘The impacts of trust and control on faculty reactions to merit pay’, Personnel Review, 30 (6), 646-656.

Spitzer, D.R., 1996 ‘Power Rewards: rewards that really motivate’, Management Review, 85(5), pp45-50.

Williams, S., Pitre, R. and Zainuba, M., 2002 ‘Justice and Organizational Citizenship Behaviour Intentions: Fair Rewards Versus Fair Treatment’, The Journal of Social Psychology, 142 (1), pp33-44

Worrall, L., Campbell, F. and Cooper, C., 1999. ‘Surviving redundancy: the Perceptions of UK managers’. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 15, 5, 460-472.

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