Is a Sign-On Bonus Worth It?

The poll results are in: is a sign-on bonus worth it? Dietitians on the hunt for a new job say no, a sign-on bonus isn’t going to sway them. Instead, they’re looking for salaries that make them feel valued, and flexible schedules that allow for balancing real life with a career.  

In an April 18, 2022 social media poll, results showed that 40 percent of dietitians prefer flexible hours and higher salaries over a sign-on bonus. Only 1 percent of dietitians polled said that a sign-on bonus is important to them.

Dietitians On Demand poll results, April 2022

So, what can a hiring manager do to attract dietitians? The data speaks for itself, stop wasting time promoting a sign-on bonus and find ways to offer what really matters to dietitians: competitive pay and flexible schedules. (Perks that have always been available to consultants who work for Dietitians On Demand!) Let’s explore some actionable ways to fill dietitian jobs. 

Work that sign-on bonus into the salary.  

Be as generous as you can in a salary when making an employment offer. If you’re able to offer a $5,000 sign-on bonus to a new employee, consider committing to that in the form of a $5,000 higher salary instead. Dietitians are some of the lowest paid members on the healthcare team, but offering a competitive salary can show how much your organization values its dietitians.

Drop the sign-on bonus and add in flexibility.  

In our survey data, Instagram respondents rated flexibility as the most desirable feature of a position, rated higher than salary and opportunities for advancement. It may take a little strategic thinking but could result in a high-quality hire without a significant impact on your bottom line. 

Consider consulting with your team and testing some unique schedule options. Think about ways to incorporate early morning hours, evening hours and weekend flexibility. 

Will a flexible schedule work for your facility? 

Consider a hybrid model. If it’s possible for your dietitians to see patients onsite and then chart remotely, go for it! Start out on a trial period to see how it works at your site and if it works well, then stick with it.  

Consider job sharing and part-time schedules. If you have an employee who is considering resigning due to burnout, scheduling issues, or other concerns, ask if they would be willing to stay if you could scale back their hours. Sure, you need a dietitian on-site five days a week. But two days a week would be better than zero. 

Remember your loyal staff who have stuck it out 

Hiring new employees who are receiving substantially higher compensation packages will sting for your tried-and-true staff members. Consider retention bonuses, preferred scheduling, priority for PTO requests, amnesty for working weekends, or whatever makes sense for your group. These folks are likely experiencing burnout too, but they haven’t quit…yet. Feeling underappreciated is a driver for healthcare workers who are considering leaving their jobs. 

Investing in your current workforce could actually aid in finding someone new, too. The world of dietetics is small, and if you treat one dietitian well, they’ll spread the word, which could make it easier to hire someone later. Build a reputation as a desirable employer and the news will spread quick. 

Be aware of health care worker burnout, and have a plan to avoid it. 

Call a staffing company sooner, rather than later. Burnout can quickly snowball to an unmanageable situation. When your staff numbers are low, that increases the stress and strain on everyone left behind. Dietitians On Demand can help relieve the pressure and will work with you to find a temporary or permanent solution for your team. Our team knows the job market and can jazz up your job to find the best candidate. 

This blog was written by the team at Dietitians On Demand 


Dietitians On Demand is a nationwide staffing and recruiting company for registered dietitians, specializing in short-term, temporary and permanent-hire positions in acute care, long term care and food service positions. We’re dedicated to dietitians and helping them enhance their practice and excel in the workplace. Check out our job openingsrequest your coverage, or visit our store today!