Nursing shortages are expected to continue to increase for several more years. Even before the pandemic, shortages occurred as a result of economic downturns and retirements. During and after the pandemic, many nurses experienced burnout. They left the profession, contributing to the nursing shortage along with an aging workforce and an aging population that increased the need for healthcare services.
In a recent blog post, Cultivating Recognition in Healthcare, we discussed the critical value of the recognition and reward of healthcare workers. Regular strategic recognition can improve employee morale and productivity and enhance patient care.
Here are four ideas that you can implement to show gratitude and thank your employees.
Express Gratitude through Personalized Thank You Notes
One way to show your appreciation for healthcare workers is by taking the time to write personalized notes. These heartfelt messages can show your gratitude and let employees know how much their hard work and dedication mean to you as a leader and to the organization.
Consider writing individual notes to specific healthcare workers or sending a collective thank you letter to a hospital or healthcare facility. Make sure to include specific examples of how their care has made a difference in your life and the lives of others. By taking the time to write a personalized note, you can make a healthcare worker's day and let them know that their efforts are truly valued.
A heartfelt thank you is easy for you and means a lot to the recipient. And it’s something that you should be doing regularly — not just once a year.
Organize Appreciation Events
Another way to show gratitude to healthcare workers is by organizing appreciation events. These events can be a fun and unexpected way to recognize the employees’ hard work and dedication. Consider organizing a breakfast or lunch for a specific department or even a party to celebrate the entire healthcare staff.
In addition to events, you can create an ongoing appreciation display, such as a bulletin board or digital presentation that showcases recent healthcare heroes. This display can include photos and testimonials from both colleagues and patients or families.
Give Practical Gifts and Other Perks
Giving gifts and other perks can also be a meaningful way to thank employees. This can include items that provide comfort, relaxation, and appreciation such as flowers, gift cards, wellness kits, snacks, cash bonuses, key chains, and water bottles. These gifts and perks not only show gratitude but also provide healthcare workers with a little extra support and encouragement during their demanding work.
When giving gifts, it’s important to keep in mind that employees will be able to tell if the gesture isn’t genuine so we recommend using gifts in conjunction with some of the other suggestions mentioned in this post.
Allow for Feedback
Sometimes employees just want to be heard and be able to voice their concerns or share their triumphs. One way to do this is to send a survey where employees can respond anonymously and then you gather their feedback and take action. Making changes based on employee feedback is important to share and shows that you’re listening.
Another option beyond a survey is to host open office hours where employees can speak directly with a leader in the organization. This gives employees a chance to have a face-to-face discussion and be able to articulate their thoughts and ask questions in real time.
These are just a few ideas that we’ve found effective in recognizing and thanking healthcare workers. The best workplace cultures are those where employees are recognized not just once a year or when they reach a service anniversary but throughout the entire year. Healthcare workers do exceptional work every day so they should be recognized and appreciated! They will likely be happier and provide better patient care if they're valued and connected.
At Incentra, we work with our healthcare clients to effectively recognize and engage employees and positively impact patients and their families. Give us a call to discuss your needs.
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