I am the sole owner of a four attorney firm in St. Louis, Missouri. Our firm has four staff members – 2 legal assistants, a receptionist, and a office manager/bookkeeper. It is that time of year again where I anguish over year end bonuses for staff which end up being Santa Claus bonuses with no relationship to actual performance. I would like to move away from this approach and tie their bonuses to performance. How do I measure performance for bonuses?
I like to tie salary increases to performance reviews tied to skills, competencies, value of the position in the market, cost of living, etc. Bonuses on the other hand should be tied to accomplishment of specific measurable results. Since staff results usually cannot be measured in terms of billable hours or collected dollars another measure must be used. I prefer to tie bonuses to accomplishment of specific agreed to goals or objectives.
Here is a system that some of my clients are using:
The goals should be tough.
Example of individual goals that meet the SMART test:
Other approaches can be taken – the key is to tie variable bonus to actual results.
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John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC
Posted at 06:16 PM in Compensation
Tags: Bonuses, Compensation, Firm, for, Law, Staff