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Healthcare Rewards and Recognition: 6 Leader Responsibility Lessons

90% – The percent of employees who rank recognition as an important or very important motivational factor.*

4.5% – The percent of employees who say they have received recognition.

*Survey by American Productivity and Quality Center and the American Compensation Association

What gets in the way of the leader’s responsibility – why isn’t expressing appreciation the norm in the workplace?

Here are some common reasons:

1. Some leaders believe that rewarding or recognizing an employee is too time-consuming and takes away from the more important mission of patient care.

Yet, recognition really matters to people. It says, “You are important to me and the organization. You are appreciated.” Lack of recognition is one of the top reasons for job flight – it’s well known that employees quit their leaders, not the organization.

Besides, while a recognition program might cost a leader some time, the mission of patient care is even better served in the long run. The program builds employee self-confidence and self-esteem, helps people stay centered in an ever-changing world, and promotes a sense of belonging. Finally it builds pride in individual and group accomplishments. Remember, satisfied employees mean satisfied patients!

2. Sometimes leaders feel that reward and recognition is not justified when employees are just fulfilling their job duties.

blg-leader article-resized-600However, the reward can serve as that all-important motivator, ensuring that individuals continue doing their work to the best of their ability and excelling whenever possible. The recognition process encourages an employee to keep repeating the behaviors that foster the right results. Besides, feeling appreciated can turn ordinary people into Legends and Champions.

3. Leaders think that reward and recognition has lost its meaning – it’s done so often in the organization and practiced in so many ways.

Nevertheless, recognition is best achieved when it is multi-faceted and diverse, small to large,
private to public, daily to annually. The best reward and recognition programs carry “equal opportunity” to great lengths.

4. Some leaders are not adept at words of praise or presentation – so they simply don’t practice reward and recognition out of shyness or fear of embarrassment.

There are a multitude of great books and manuals that teach how to express appreciation in public. It’s the leader’s responsibility to coach employees to their highest and best performance via the motivation provided by recognition.

5. Occasionally a leader has such a top performing, closely-knit team that the group is taken for granted. The feeling is expressed, “My people don’t care about recognition programs all that much. Plus, they’re pretty well paid for what they do.”

If this leader would institute some innovative reward and recognition efforts for the employees, he/she would probably be amazed at the group’s response and level of interest. It’s among the deepest human needs to feel valued, important, and appreciated for what we do; simple words of praise and thanks create those feelings of appreciation. A leader should never take high performing staff for granted.

Doing good work is everyone’s job – rewarding good work is a leader’s job. When employees are asked how they like their job, the first response often is about the boss, not the tasks.

6. A very common excuse for leaders’ failing to reward and recognize employees is forgetfulness.

One way that a leader can ensure that reward and recognition takes place is to put it on the schedule! This process is as important, sometimes more so, as many duties expected of management. If at all possible, a leader should aim for recognizing every reporting staff member at least once a week. 360 degree feedback shows that leaders who do this are perceived as more organized and effective.  

Compensation is a right; recognition is a gift.

—Rosabeth Moss Kanter, author

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.

About BLG, a HealthStream Company 

BLG provides Patient-Centered Excellence Consulting, where the patient is at the center of everything we do. Our tools, tactics, and best practices are evidence-based and outcomes driven.  We provide custom, individualized coaching that produces measurable, sustainable increases in patient satisfaction, employee engagement, quality outcomes, and profitability.

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