What’s Better Than a Million Dollars?

What’s Better Than a Million Dollars?

Reading this article may make you uncomfortable. You might think things like, “We could never do that!” Or, “That would never fly in my organization!”  But chances are your recruitment efforts could use some shaking up and as we keep saying, the impractical route is the way to drive recruitment results!

A recent article written by Google shared how their employees valued company offered experiences more than a million dollars! Say what?!?! (Link to article after blog)

This is exactly what we’ve have been saying for years!  Don’t get us wrong we’d gladly take the money, BUT sometimes less is actually more.  Our client, Friendship, in Virginia, is right on the money (or trip) with this one!

Ben Higgins, Director of Health Care Operations at Friendship, shared with us his outrageous recruitment program that’s shaking things up in Virginia! 

Drive: Tell us about the travel voucher program reveal you had recently.

Ben: Stephanie (Friendship’s Director of Marketing) and I surprised one of our nurses eligible for this vacation bonus with a “Publisher’s Clearinghouse” style celebration!  She’s so excited!

Drive: How did you come up with this out of the box travel voucher idea? 

Ben: We felt, especially in our market, and maybe in every market, employers were throwing large cash sign-on bonuses at nurses in order to recruit them. Quite honestly, some of those cash sign-on bonuses were figures we couldn’t keep up with. The other thing that we saw is employers kept “one-upping” each other…$5,000 for 1 year, then $8,000 for 2 years, then someone else would say $10,000 for 2 years, etc.  

We wanted to break the white-noise by doing something different – offering a paid vacation with 5-days of paid-time off after 90-days of work. As we’re attempting to hire, we know people are after more than just a “paycheck”, so we thought we’d offer them an experience by way of a vacation!  

We also wanted to shorten the pay-out time frame to make the reward more real to them right off the bat. So, we did the math and figured that, for $5,000, that expense would pay for itself in 90 days if you considered that a “hole” in the schedule would likely need to be filled by someone in overtime or agency usage. Lastly, we know that some people might just want the cash….but since we were trying to give people a break and time-away, we offered a cash payout of $2,500 option. 

Drive: Did you highlight this offering in your interview process and if so, what kind of feedback did interviewees give you when they first heard of it?

Ben: We did highlight this program in interviews and I think it definitely had some buzz associated with it. We had a competitor offer some unique pay practices a couple years back and they were the talk of the town for a bit. That’s what we wanted to create and I think we accomplished it!

Drive: Where are your eligible employees planning to go with their voucher and what kind of positivity have you observed from implementing this program?

Ben: We’ve had several people choose the cash payout rather than the vacation, which is their prerogative. But the nurses who have chosen vacations are so excited! One is planning to take her and her kids on a cruise to the Bahama’s and the other is booking a cruise for her and her husband’s wedding anniversary! 

We also have a fun spin upcoming this summer. We didn’t want our current employees to feel like we were offering this crazy fun opportunity to new hires and not doing anything for them. So, in conjunction with this program, we ran a “referral bonus” program whereby for every referral that was hired and stayed 90-days, we would pay you $250 and also enter your name in a drawing for a $5,000 vacation voucher  (plus days off). That program was rather successful, so we extended it and are drawing a name for a winner this summer! 

Drive: Has this idea inspired you to implement other incentives?

Ben: I think this program has shown us that thinking “outside-the-box” rewards you with some positive buzz and improved outcomes. It’s inspired us to continue thinking in that manner. What are things that we can do a little differently that might break the white-noise of recruitment out there for nurses? Everyone needs nurses, so it’s the companies who are thinking creatively by way of their recruitment and their culture who are going to succeed. That’s why our work with Drive is so important. (Shameless plug, he said it not us!)

Your Turn
So there it is. Don’t listen to your gut, please!  Instead, get out there, be different and do things that make you feel slightly uncomfortable. Click here to see how giant Google learned this employee incentive lesson!


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