Satisfaction, motivation, and retention in academic faculty incentive compensation systems: A cera survey

Deanna R. Willis, Jane Williams, Kevin Gebke, George Bergus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The use of incentive compensation in academic family medicine has been a topic of interest for many years, yet little is known about the impact of these systems on individual faculty members. Better understanding is needed about the relationship of incentive compensation systems (ICSs) to ICS satisfaction, motivation, and retention among academic family medicine faculty. METHODS: The Council of Academic Family Medicine (CAFM) Educational Research Alliance (CERA) conducted a nationwide survey of its members in 2013. This study reports the results of the incentive compensation question subset of the larger omnibus survey. RESULTS: The overall response rate was 53%. The majority (70% [360/511]) of academic faculty reported that they are eligible for some type of incentive compensation. The faculty reported moderate satisfaction, with only 38% being satisfied or highly satisfied with their ICS. Overall mean motivation and intent to remain in their current position were similar. The percentage of total income available as an incentive explained less than 10% of the variance of those outcomes. Faculty perceptions of appropriateness of the measures, understanding of the measurement and reward systems, and perception of due process are all related to satisfaction with the ICS, motivation, and retention. CONCLUSIONS: ICSs are common in academic family medicine, yet most faculty do not find them to motivate their choice of activities or promote staying in their current position. Design and implementation are both important in promoting faculty satisfaction with the ICS, motivation, and retention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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