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Performance Recognition for Healthcare Staff Must Be Meaningful

Meaningful recognition is tied intrinsically to the organization’s mission, vision and values. When employees see that their actions have impacted one of these driving principles, they are motivated to repeat the behavior again and again. But it is also important to research how people wish to be rewarded, what is meaningful to them.

Why Recognize Excellent Performance?

Recognizing an employee for work that advances the organization’s mission, vision or values promotes a culture of high performance. So does honoring employees who have demonstrated the characteristics and behaviors that the organization holds in high regard. If leaders consistently reward employees by tying the recognition to one of the organization’s driving principles – a process known as “connecting the dots” - think of the difference it would make! People would be encouraged and motivated to repeat that positive behavior again and again, knowing its impact.

Making Rewards and Recognition Meaningful

Yet, the praise still has to be meaningful to them as individuals, which ties back to their personality or qualities. Reward and recognition, after all, is about focusing on the good things that a person does, instead of concentrating only on organizational areas of improvement.

An Example of Meaningful Recognition

For example, praising an employee for an innovation that saved the organization some money is the thing to do. But think how much more meaningful it would be if the recognition went something like this: “John’s ability to see the big picture made him question why so much money is being spent on that item. His clever thinking resulted in a new way of doing things that is a lot more cost effective. He’s a true innovator!” You are not only pointing out how John helped the organization, but how his particular talents were key to the process. It has much more significance.

Consider that it is sometimes the “behind the scenes” employees who make the most difference to our customers. It could be something so simple as how food is placed on a tray, turning out an overhead light that is bothersome, or cleaning up a mess with a positive attitude.

Connect Recognition to Service Excellence and Outcomes

Recognize the individuals who perform those tasks, but do it in a way that connects their
caring actions to service excellence. This reinforces the behaviors that will in turn positively impact patient satisfaction surveys.

It may take some extra time for a leader to think about and create meaningful personalized feedback and praise for a job well done, connecting the behavior to the organization as well. But it will pay off in the long run. Recognition that values people for who they are has the power to energize; it can change the corporate culture and result in even more motivated employees. What a return on the leader’s investment of time!  

“People want to feel what they do makes a difference.”

—Frances Hesselbein, President, The Drucker Foundation

Reward and Recognition Training

BLG teaches key skills, approaches, techniques, and best practices to help leaders effectively reward and recognize high performers. Elements of this training include how to harvest reward and recognition opportunities, thank you notes as a key engagement tool, formal recognition programs that support a patient focused culture, and informal methods that create a custom, individualized approach to thanking team members in your employee family.


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