Performance Bonuses In A Travel Healthcare Assignment?


Empowered traveler Question:

"Hi Nomadicare! Do you guys know of anyone that had negotiated performance bonuses into their travel assignments?

I'm a traveler with 12 yrs experience and I don't think I'm paid for that. I think a vast majority of contracts are just looking for a body to fill in regardless of what you bring to the table, and therefore my experience and ability are not accounted for in the pay.

And understanding this is a business, and I am applying for a temporary position, I think negotiating a performance bonus would be a tangible way to prove my ability and value to the company that hires me, and is a win for both of us, they get more production out of a temporary position and I am able to prove my value to the company to justify a higher wage. Thoughts?"

My Answer:

Ah, I hear you! I really wish that there was an incentive out there to financially benefit the GREAT clinicians vs the not-so-good.

But no, I have not heard of someone asking for a performance bonus or successfully achieving something like that in the travel world. Actually, just the opposite is out there! For example, in therapy travel in the SNF setting- if someone doesn't hit their productivity they could get a pay cut (if that's in their contract). Man!

The way the travel world is set up most of the time is that the middle man (recruiter) gets one number to work with (The bill rate). That number is the same for new grads or longtime travelers. It's the same if you have extra certs or none. It's just a flat number.

The company takes that number and gives you a cut of it depending on what they need to keep for their own profits. Usually, they keep between 20-25% to pay to run their business.

The facilities that are paying to have travelers come are spending a lot of money per hour- a lot more than for a perm staff member. And their needs and pain points are usually three things:

1. Keep spending as low as possible. 
2. Get someone in here fast that can hit the ground running. 
3. Make this easy and simple (hence why they use a middle man to take care of all the paperwork).

What is not in their top pain points usually: 
4. Give me the highest skilled person on the market for top dollar.

We, as travelers, are filling a temporary need. We have to be skilled and confident to even be a traveler because it can be really demanding. But a facility wants someone who will work hard and do a good job at the bill rate they already decided on. They might already feel like they are paying top dollar and negotiations many times are just between the traveler and recruiter to get those extra few %'s of the bill rate - and most of the time it does not go back to the facility. (Sometimes it really does though).

If you are asking a facility to track metrics with you- that sounds like more work and time for a travel assignment when they are looking for ease.

If a company/recruiter tells you yes to this- I would be cautious. They might actually just be putting some of your original pay aside to give you later as a "good job bonus" just to make you happy and give you the request.

Now the good news for skilled travelers:

Whew, the market is getting more competitive. Where a few years ago each job did not have as many applications- now there can be dozens and dozens for one job! The great travelers stand out and you will have more options on where to travel to and fewer gaps between jobs. Standing out in a stack of resumes is a great thing for a traveler.

Hope that helps!


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Laura LatimerComment