Case Study

Dollars & docs: navigating physician compensation redesign

Leadership at a major academic medical center recognized the need to streamline their 23 disparate physician compensation plans into a single standard model. However, lack of communication about the plan, coupled with the inherent tension associated with personal compensation, led to significant pushback from faculty. Amid changes in the C-Suite, hospital leadership sagely stepped back, then engaged us to develop a disciplined communications plan for a revised compensation model.

The Solution

We began by listening to the faculty physicians and then developed a listening and learning platform that encouraged feedback on the compensation redesign.

The team discovered that the primary source of concern was not the plan itself. Rather, there was a lack of trust in leadership and a strong feeling among faculty that they did not have a voice in the redesign. Therefore, the new development process focused on ensuring faculty physicians were closely involved in ongoing plan development. A team made up of physicians, HR, legal, communications and external financial management consultants led the process.

Over 18 months, we worked alongside the team to revise the new compensation model based on greater transparency and stakeholder feedback. Leadership held office hours, created a team structure and polling system that allowed for real-time feedback and launched a regular “Did You Know?” email series for updates. We also communicated back to leadership how faculty feedback helped evolve the model.

The Results

The delay and ensuing redesign paid off. The disciplined engagement strategy led to a well-received compensation plan. It was initially rolled out as a one-year “shadow” period to help physicians see how the plan would affect them while leaving room to work out unforeseen issues before formally implementing the model. A group of physician champions for the plan helped explain it to their peers, gaining buy-in from faculty. The email series remains as a key mechanism to loop in physicians about other news and strategic initiatives.


Listening Sessions and Pulse Polls

Listening Sessions and Pulse Polls

"Did You Know" Email Series

“Did You Know” Email Series

Office Hours and Roadshows

Office Hours and Roadshows

Compensation Champions Group

Compensation Champions Group

Content Development

Board/Leadership Updates

The Takeaway

Following an unsuccessful attempt at redesigning its physician compensation package, we helped an academic medical center engage its physicians, leading to a successful model and a better overall relationship with faculty.


compensation models reduced to one


faculty physicians engaged


active physician champions