pausing for thanks: 5 healthcare recognition best practices

By in Appreciation and Recognition Strategies
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In honor of National Hospital Week, we’re re-sharing five best practices for recognizing your healthcare employees.

National Hospital Week is the perfect time to pause. Pause and say thank you to our healthcare providers. Thank you for your endless hours of healing. Thank you for making a difference in the world. Thank you for your countless sacrifices. Thank you for providing health and hope—day in and day out. Thank you. Because what you do matters.

Appreciation is something that’s inherently part of the culture in most healthcare organizations. Most hospitals have a long history of appreciation and celebrating their people. They know the value of recognition because it’s an essential element in everything they do.

“People come into healthcare wanting fulfillment through meaningful work. It’s part of who we are. In fact‚ many times‚ our employees would say ‘It’s just what we do‚’” explains Jacinta Nelson, Associate Vice President of Human Resources at Norton Healthcare. “But that’s why it’s so imperative that we show our appreciation.”

While many healthcare organizations have several ways they recognize their employees, employees aren’t always feeling truly appreciated.

“All the nice stuff that we thought did a great job of recognizing our employees was the opposite of what the employees wanted,” says Ken McCollum, Vice President of Human Resources at NorthBay Healthcare Group. “And not that they didn’t appreciate the recognition, we just weren’t recognizing the right things.”

Not recognizing the right things is a common problem. While celebrating Hospital Week a few years back, one organization provided snacks during a meet-and-greet opportunity for employees to get face time with company executives. Even though leaders made great efforts and had the best of intentions, employees didn’t feel particularly appreciated.

Although elements of recognition may be present, what’s missing in most of these homegrown recognition efforts is expertise. Experts who can create a comprehensive, formal, system-wide recognition solution. A program that every employee, in every department can easily access and use and that honors big moments like career and company milestones appropriately.

In the case of the company with the meet-and-greet that fell short, we partnered with the organization listening to their concerns and tailored a recognition solution that was a perfect fit for their culture and employees’ lifestyles. The following year, the company was proud to appreciate their employees with a personalized care journal – with quotes about caregivers around the world on each page. The gift was meaningful, useful, and inspirational. And, mostly importantly, employees not only loved it but they felt truly appreciated.

How can you create moments of true appreciation like this at your organization?

Follow these recognition best practices:

  • Be Intentional: Recognize and reward success by intentionally creating ways to spotlight employees and their great work.
  • Create a Recognition Committee: Employees want their voices heard, so ask them for feedback on current recognition practices, and how they would prefer to be recognized. Then compare the answers.
  • Online AND Offline Solutions: Because of the mobile, fast-paced environment, healthcare providers must be able to quickly express appreciation on the go.
  • Manager Buy-in and Training: Manager support and adoption are essential to a program’s success. So is training—organizations that provide manager training have 20% higher program utilization.

People are the strongest asset of any organization. Especially in hospitals and care facilities where employees are directly interacting with patients and having a direct impact on their lives. So take great care of your employees. Let them know they are truly appreciated.

“When the leader in the appreciation industry partners with an industry that understands appreciation so well and practices it throughout the course of the year, powerful things happen. It’s exciting and refreshing to see,” says Jim Hales, Director of Marketing Award Strategy at O.C. Tanner. “With their long-standing tradition, the healthcare industry is committed to doing appreciation well and so are we.”

By christina pope
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