October 2, 2019

Why You Should Offer Signing Bonuses

by Mary Newgard

A friend who’s a Nurse Practitioner recently made a job change, and what stuck out about her story was negotiating a signing bonus. Part of a large healthcare network, she essentially stayed with the same employer despite transitioning from working in a hospital to a clinic. At the final stages of the offer her biggest area of negotiation was the signing bonus. Not only did she anticipate one, but she pushed back on the initial offer knowing the company was apt to give sizable amounts to attract providers. Think about that. The company already employs her but was desperate for talent and this helped seal the deal.

Experienced insurance professionals across our industry, from client management and sales to underwriting and executive leadership are in high demand. We’re trying all sorts of new things to attract candidates, but in 13+ years of recruiting I cannot think of many ways offers have evolved. Signing bonuses could be the answer to dramatically changing your hiring success.   

Five Reasons You Should Offer Signing Bonuses

  1. Be Dramatic & Different. Signing bonuses are not the norm for the insurance industry, so your offer will stand out from competitors.
  2. Combat Counteroffers. Don’t get into a bidding war on salary. Put your best foot forward with a strong salary PLUS a little something extra on the side. To a job seeker, this feels like icing on the cake.
  3. Relocation Assistance Repackaged. If you have the money to pay for relocation assistance then you have money to apply for other reasons to local candidates. If you hate the term ‘relocation assistance’, a signing bonus helps with the transition and you don’t have to ask questions about how or when it’s used. 
  4. Retention 101. People remember the way you propelled their situation forward. It will be hard to leave your company if there isn’t another signing bonus on the other side.
  5. Salary Cost Containment. There’s a reason it’s called signing BONUS. Would you rather give an employee a 3-5% merit increase year over year or a one-time bonus based on company profit? Salaries are handcuffs that increase operating expenses. Bonuses of any kind are a one-time hit. I’d argue they make a greater impact with employees than small increases over 24 pay periods.


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