Saturday Morning Rounds October 17th, 2020 - 9 things every health care leader should know about compensation

Posted by BossB, MD on October 17, 2020
BossB, MD

Saturday Morning Rounds

A weekly round-up of career & negotiation content for women physicians

What got our attention

9 things every health care leader should know about compensation

Not only should every healthcare leader know these things - every healthcare provider should understand them as well. 

This article is one of the best we've ever read on this topic. It immediately recognizes and dives into the emotional nature of such conversations, yet grounds itself in the importance of a rational, evidence-based approach. It's insightful, and packs a lot into a very short read.

While we totally recommend you take the small amount of time needed to read it yourself, here are the "9 things" in summary (break-downs and more detailed explanation of each can be found in the article):

  1. Studies show that, after accounting for co-variates such as part-time work, productivity, and a host of other factors, there is a documented problem of gender-related pay gap disparities for women physicians
  2. Women who also identify with one or more other underrepresented groups may be at particularly high risk for inequitable compensation
  3. Published calls to action state that paying women physicians fairly should be a top priority for every dean, chair, health care executive, and business administrator
  4. Expecting new hires to negotiate fair pay, particularly early in their careers, is not considered best practice
  5. Paying women less than men for the same work is increasingly becoming illegal as states enact fair pay laws
  6. Paying women less than men for the same work is unethical
  7. Paying women physicians unfairly begins with their first position after training, and plagues them throughout their career
  8. Women may be at a disadvantage for fair pay due to a host of nuanced issues that are documented in the literature (but are often left out of discussions)
  9. People who dismiss or minimize pay disparities may not be knowledgeable about the evidence-base on physician compensation
Dr Julie Silver MD

Who we're following

The author of this week's article - Dr. Julie Silver, MD (@JulieSilverMD) - is the PM&R Department Chair as well as the Leadership CME Director at Harvard, with a fascinating career that's spanned business, medicine, diversity & inclusion efforts, and seemingly everything in between. Give her a follow to stay up to date with what she's doing!

BBMD tip of the week

While this whole article is spectacular, one of the things that most stood out to us about it was the early focus on the importance of emotion in negotiations. Dr. Silver hit the nail on the head when she wrote:

"current leaders may feel defensive about their decisions and actions involving paying people who work for them, and workers may feel angry or upset if they know or perceive that they are not being paid fairly."

And that's what our tip of the week is all about - defensiveness - the single most important emotion to avoid during a negotiation (or really any conversation you want to have go well).

That's it, that's our TED talk.

Avoid defensiveness in yourself and your counterpart at almost all costs. If you only have bandwidth to focus on a few key things during a negotiation, that should definitely be one of them. 

How do we avoid defensiveness? Well, thinking about doing so explicitly is 80% of the battle, and once you know that's the target for which you're aiming, you'll naturally adjust your approach. But here are a few of the tactics we've taught over the years that work for our clients:

  • "Assume best intent" - Pretty self-explanatory (we like to add the assumption of intelligence, as well)
  • "Invite the elephant into the room" - A tactic we teach of saying the worst thing that could be in your counterpart's mind, the worst possible interpretation of your own actions, so that you can openly address it and signal that you're not defensive
  • "Preemptively save their face" - Paint your counterpart's actions in the best possible light, out loud, preemptively, and you'll give them a positive vision of themselves to live up to

This is only a small set of examples, but the core message of avoiding defensiveness will serve you well in just about any conversation we can think of. 

Quote we're contemplating

"...during this time when misinformation and disinformation is common, good health care leaders can distinguish themselves by educating others about what is known to be true. Great leaders, regardless of their gender, will be ethical (Silver, 2018) and use science and facts to drive change--even when they encounter resistance--to ensure that women are paid fairly." - Dr. Julie Silver, MD

PS - If you were forwarded this email and enjoyed it, subscribe here to make sure you don't miss out on future ones!
PPS - As always, please let us know your requests and suggestions by replying to this email (we read 'em all) or getting at us via Twitter. Which section above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Just send a tweet to @BossB_MD and put #SaturdayMorningRounds in there so we can find it.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!