Corporate Gratitude Drives Up Healthcare Worker Morale, Engagement and Retention

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By Matt O’Grady

It costs nothing to say “Thank you” or “You’re doing a great job” to your healthcare workforce when they have performed well. Yet, so few managers do. The reasons why these micro-expressions go unspoken vary but the absence of these words can have an impact on motivation, productivity, tardiness, absenteeism, engagement and retention. Demonstrating employee appreciation and gratitude can make that much of a difference. 

One recent study found that 80 percent of respondents would take less money to work for a boss who showed true appreciation for their service. This is why a culture of gratitude must be established across hospitals, clinics, practices and long-term care facilities. Most importantly, we know when workers feel recognized and valued, the customer service improves too. Below steps can be the first to cultivate an environment of gratitude so every employee feels appreciated.

Communicate the “why” – Tell your managers “why” this is important. Share the impact expressing words of appreciation will have on their individual direct reports and across teams. Once they understand “why” it is important they should be eager to learn “how.” 

Train your managers on “how” — Set-up mini-workshops with role-playing led by a corporate gratitude specialist or trained HR executive. These trainings should include encouraging managers, supervisors, department heads and others with direct reports to spend a few minutes a day around worker stations or employee gathering spots to see how things are going with everyone. 

Once managers understand the power behind meaningful expressions like “thank you,” “job well done,” and “your effort to go the extra mile has not gone unnoticed,” it should become more frequent in their day-to-day communications.  

Online public recognition and social media. Posts, group emails, tweets, even videos or conference calls expressing thanks and appreciation go a long way for both individuals and department teams. Whether daily, weekly, monthly in an organized way or as events happen, share comments of appreciation across online platforms. Depending on what is most active for your workforce, an active Facebook page, Twitter account or employee forums, it is important to incorporate social media in your corporate gratitude program as they are immediate. 

Encourage co-worker recognition. In healthcare settings, building team, department and station rapport and respect is essential. From nurses to maintenance teams, optimal patient care requires cooperation and courtesy across the workforce. Create a “co-worker of the week or month” in which only co-workers recognize a team member who they believe went the extra mile. 

The reward can be an acknowledgment in an employee-wide meeting, a gift card to the local coffee shop, or part of an accumulated points program that can build up to a larger monetary gift or perhaps a paid half-day off. The key here is to build co-worker appreciation which will go a long way in team-building, employee engagement, and retention.

Healthcare cultures with corporate gratitude programs have the ability to reach the highest levels of morale across their workforce. And, when this happens, employees become your brand ambassadors with the potential of attracting even more top talent to your healthcare organization which is critical for growth. 

There is just no possibility of keeping up with other facilities who empower their workers with a positive culture that embraces positivity if your organization isn’t doing the same. An Attitude of Gratitude will drive success for your healthcare brand, worker satisfaction, and ultimately, an increase in patent customer service. Get started today! 

Matt O’Grady is CEO of Matt O’Grady Coaching, an experienced Corporate Gratitude guide. His programs have a measurable impact on employee engagement, retention, workforce attitudes and morale. He can be reached at matt@mattogradycoaching.com

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