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The Role of Compensation Criteria to Minimize Face-Time Bias and Support Faculty Career Flexibility An Approach to Enhance Career Satisfaction in Academic Pathology


Work-life balance is important to recruitment and retention of the younger generation of medical faculty, but medical school flexibility policies have not been fully effective. We have reported that our school's policies are underutilized due to faculty concerns about looking uncommitted to career or team. Since policies include leaves and accommodations that reduce physical presence, faculty may fear "face-time bias," which negatively affects evaluation of those not "seen" at work. Face-time bias is reported to negatively affect salary and career progress. We explored face-time bias on a leadership level and described development of compensation criteria intended to mitigate face-time bias, raise visibility, and reward commitment and contribution to team/group goals. Leaders from 6 partner departments participated in standardized interviews and group meetings. Ten compensation plans were analyzed, and published literature was reviewed. Leaders did not perceive face-time issues but saw team pressure and perception of availability as performance motivators. Compensation plans were multifactor productivity based with many quantifiable criteria; few addressed team contributions. Using these findings, novel compensation criteria were developed based on a published model to mitigate face-time bias associated with team perceptions. Criteria for organizational citizenship to raise visibility and reward group outcomes were included. We conclude that team pressure and perception of availability have the potential to lead to bias and may contribute to underuse of flexibility policies. Recognizing organizational citizenship and cooperative effort via specific criteria in a compensation plan may enhance a culture of flexibility. These novel criteria have been effective in one pilot department.

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