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Healthcare Employee Recognition Ideas and Benefits

Everyone working in healthcare human resources knows that compensation and recognition are both extremely important contributors to employee satisfaction. We have to be certain that healthcare staff are paid fairly for their work and that underpayment is not a reason for anyone to feel underappreciated or unvalued. Recognition is also very important for everyone working in healthcare. In the HealthStream blog post, Six Reasons to Prioritize Employee Recognition Over Rewards in Healthcare, we wrote about how effective recognition can be defined as receiving trusted, authentic feedback, whether from a colleague or superior, about how the staffer’s efforts had an impact on team goals and organizational success. The blog goes on to state “When employers use rewards to motivate, they are attaching performance to the physical—a tangible object. Effective recognition, on the other hand, impacts employees on a psychological level. It connects performance to intrinsic motivators—why they perform—and sends a message that the behaviors they exhibited are in alignment with how the employer defines success.

Benefits of Effective Healthcare Employee Recognition Programs

Four benefits of effective recognition are:

  • Recognition Changes Behavior for a More Sustained Duration.

Effective recognition will have a longer-lasting impact as it better connects to ongoing performance.

  • Rewards Can Have a Negative Effect on Performance.

Recognition engages top performers and has an impact on the performance of the less engaged workforce, by exemplifying how the employee is contributing to the organization’s goals and vision.

  • Recognition Has a Positive Impact on Work Relationships.

Acknowledgment of employee performance by a peer or manager creates an environment of camaraderie.

  • Recognition Creates Better Outcomes with No Costs Attached.

Effective recognition programs and processes will get the same or most likely better outcomes without the costs of a rewards-based program.

Healthcare Employee Recognition Program Ideas

Here are three creative ideas for healthcare employee recognition:

  1. Establish an employee-driven Reward & Recognition Team.

This team should be tasked with planning and implementing a variety of programs, from special contests and regular service awards banquets to performance-based awards and recurring programs. The breadth of activities should be wide and varied, because employees differ greatly in what they find to be meaningful. Some are impressed by formal recognition ceremonies and newsletter announcements, while others like impromptu, surprise events. Encourage the team to incorporate variety into the recognition program.

  1. Establish Departmental Recognition Programs.

Sometimes performance is encouraged more strongly when it involves teamwork. Establish a program where departments work against one another for a regular prize. For some organizations, this kind of program has proved to be an exciting way to keep employees engaged about cultural improvements and promote friendly competition among departments.

  1. Have Employees Recognize One Another for Great Performance.

Start a customer/patient-focused initiative to reinforce extraordinary customer service behaviors through peer recognition. Ask employees to recognize and document acts of extraordinary customer service—it can have a twofold effect: increased attention to the contributions of co-workers, along with enhanced collaboration and teamwork.

  1. Ask Patients and Families to Identify Exemplary Caregivers.

Encourage patients and their families to nominate employees for phenomenal performance in the service of care. Give everyone who interacts with the healthcare organization an easy way to honor professionalism and service. Draw names from those that are submitted or make everyone nominated a member of a special cohort within your employee base. Honor these people with big ceremonies, written certificates, photos, press releases, etc.

Enhancing healthcare employee recognition is a core function served by HealthStream partner AMPT, whose social recognition platform allows organizations to easily and effectively recognize employees in their moments of greatness. AMPT enables employees to connect, engage, and grow by allowing them to recognize, share and celebrate moments of greatness. The AMPT platform allows companies to connect their core values to recognition accomplishments, which ultimately drives employee performance. When an employee receives praise for their efforts, their job satisfaction increases, motivation improves, and positive actions are reinforced. Learn more about HealthStream solutions for healthcare employee engagement and retention.


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