The Leader's Role in Healthcare Staff Rewards and Recognition

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

The bottom line is: how employees feel about leaders has a great deal to do with their own satisfaction. Creating a nurturing environment—one that supports, educates, helps, invites participation, and rewards desirable actions—should be the top agenda for any leader. First and foremost, leaders should be role models; they have to walk, talk, and live the qualities they expect from everyone else. Staying informed, being team-focused, participating with colleagues and recognizing those who support the culture goes a long way toward reaching and even exceeding goals. And, just as important, it gives employees such a sense of value that they feel part of a family they won’t want to leave.

Acknowledge during the Daily Line-Up or at Staff Meetings
  • One way that leaders serve as role models is their encouragement and recognition of  employees during the Daily Line-Up* or huddle, and at staff meetings.
  • Start each meeting with a public thank you or ask for a colleague to offer one to a team member
    Mark milestones publicly—express appreciation and thanks for the contributions of others
  • Tell stories about workplace successes
  • Be open to learning and seeking out opportunities for improvement 

*Modeled after the Ritz-Carlton best practice, the Daily Line-Up is a designated period every day when departments come together to discuss topics that reinforce the organization’s strategic areas of focus (Pillars), to recognize each other, and to stay connected as a team. 

Be Accountable

In addition, leaders should be accountable for reward and recognition activities in their individual areas. This is achieved by consistent reporting on the number of rewards and recognition in a given time period; regularly taking the “pulse” of staff by asking people what they like or dislike about the program; and finally, fully and completely participating as a leader. After all, the success of the organization, including reward and recognition activities, depends on leadership’s enthusiastic involvement.


Finally, it is incumbent upon all leaders to recognize team efforts through celebrations.

  • Recognize departments and employees by name
  • Celebrate employees who participate on service teams
  • Recognize team achievements
  • Communicate recognition to everyone through e-mail, newsletters, or communication boards
  • Find a reason to celebrate department or unit results
  • Plan a party!

Reward and Recognize Employees For...

  • A smile that’s always there
  • Hands which are willing to help
  • A creative idea
  • Consistent quality work
  • Continuous improvement
  • An extra mile effort
  • Meeting or surpassing a goal
  • A winning attitude
  • Showing support
  • Creating loyalty
  • Being cost conscious
  • Being part of the team
  • Solving a problem
  • Commitment to the customer
  • A “whatever it takes” attitude
  • Strong leadership
  • Having the vision to make it happen
  • Perseverance
  • Big dreams
  • Being fast and efficient
  • Making a commitment
  • Doing everything that’s asked and more
  • Accepting a challenge
  • Seizing an opportunity
  • Overcoming insurmountable odds
  • Doing it right the first time
  • Believing and succeeding
  • Never quitting
  • Being committed to the safety of others
  • Thinking ahead
  • Managing time wisely
  • Motivating others
  • Having superior skills and ability
  • Having the courage to push ahead
  • Outstanding  achievement
  • Making tough choices
  • Staying well-read and informed
  • Overcoming fears of failure
  • Always giving time and effort
  • Accepting responsibility
  • Perfect attendance
  • Blazing new trails
  • Demonstrating empathy toward others
  • Possessing personal integrity

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.