The joy of educating and sharing the word about a new concept or idea is always so fun, and the energy following learning is high and ideas are everywhere! But as time moves along, the joy and excitement of the new information wears off and the reality of all the time and effort needed to make it happen sets in. Everyone knows the plan is great and the work can get done, but how do you keep up the positive energy?
THE ANSWER: Staff Appreciation!
Those two words are spoken often by leaders all over the world and those speaking them have great intentions, but sometimes the ideas fall flat despite the importance of those two words!
Team member appreciation goes a long a way to promote person-centered care. When leaders serve as examples by treating others the way THEY want to be treated, team members begin to treat their teammates and elders in their care in a mirrored way and with increased respect and trust. The sayings “Actions speak louder than words” and “Do unto other as you would have done unto you” may be old, but they still pack a powerful punch and are true!
Team Leaders need to demonstrate the ability to listen, give their team a voice, and model the behavior they want seen being demonstrated all over the care community. In this way, the frontline team members see that there is an expectation for a “way of living”, not just “I’m at work, so I guess I’ll do my job”. This in turn not only keeps team members being caring with elders, but also with families, medical professionals and their peers… and that makes each day lighter and the community more welcoming!
But what person likes to put all the effort into a task and then not have it recognized? Not one. So, for managers and other community leaders to provide empty praise that has no meaning doesn’t boost morale, it actually brings it down. So, if you are going to praise your team members be sincere, reality based, honest, and specific and DO IT OFTEN!
To help you get started, we have shared 5 creative ways to be appreciative of your team:
- Hire a massage therapist to come in to provide hand/foot/body massages
- Provide individuals with a subscription to a meal prep service
- Provide gift certificate to a local or online clothing group that makes scrubs or other business attire so the team can jazz up their attire
- Provide a portion of monthly child care fees
- Provide tickets to a group for a sports game (baseball/football)
Healthcare organizations with a meaningful strategy to recognize their team members create stronger engagement, increased employee morale, a culture of team work and relationship building, AND lower turnover rates (so important right now). Additionally, many organizations that have implemented effective employee recognition programs have identified an increase in levels of productivity and job satisfaction from their team members. The most effective types of recognition take into consideration the preferences of the staff who are being recognized in order to make them feel genuinely valued and respected. Listen to your staff and find out how they would like to be recognized.
So, get ready to have fun and while you put together your own recognition plan! One more tip, to make things even more meaningful – make sure your plan allows for individuals living in the community, families and other staff to give team members a pat on the back in a variety of ways when they deserve it. This behavior will also be returned by staff to individuals receiving care which will encourage self-esteem and life worth living.