April 26, 2024
March 1, 2024

Employee Recognition in the Medical Industry

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Medical professionals are the unsung heroes around us. Doctors, nurses, administrative staff, janitors, and anyone else on the frontlines of our healthcare system work long hours in often stressful situations to keep the rest of us healthy and happy.

And ever since the pandemic, this type of work is taking a greater toll. The percentage of health workers who experience burnout has jumped to 46% since 2018, and the percentage of those looking for a new job increased to 44% because of it. And as more professionals leave the field, those remaining are even more overworked and underappreciated. 

The people who dedicate their lives to others’ well-being, and continue to do so, deserve more than constant stress and burnout. They deserve to be recognized for their selfless efforts and caring attitudes. 

Recognition in healthcare comes with a few challenges to be aware of:

  • Difficulty reaching offline and frontline employees
  • Limited reward options and high markups
  • Finding the time to run the recognition programs

These challenges can seem insurmountable. However, with the right tools, recognizing healthcare employees can actually be quite simple.

Medical professionals helping a patient.

Why Recognition Is So Important for Healthcare

Here are some stats that show the truth of what healthcare professionals are dealing with:

  • Over 2X the amount of healthcare employees reported being harassed at work in 2022
  • 93% of healthcare workers reported feeling stressed at work
  • 86% reported feeling anxiety
  • 77% reported feeling frustration
  • 76% reported exhaustion and burnout
  • 75% reported feeling overwhelmed

Healthcare workers are burned out, stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed. On the flip side, however, recognition, when done correctly, can help alleviate these feelings. After all, employee recognition:

  • Lowers turnover by 31%
  • Increases engagement by 43%
  • Raises happiness by 25% and lowers stress
  • Decreases the chance of burnout by 48%

Effective recognition can transform your healthcare organization and help your professionals feel more engaged, satisfied, and happy.

Group of medical professionals.

The Power of Personalized Appreciation for Healthcare Employees

Imagine, for a moment, that you’ve just had a 12-hour workday, you’ve had to deal with traumatic experiences and heartbroken families, and then, as you’re leaving the office, you’re given a thank you muffin by leaders.

That kind of impersonal thank you wouldn’t do much, right? Plaques, lapel pins, crystal trophies, fancy clocks, and other traditional rewards aren’t enough to show appreciation in the stress-filled healthcare industry anymore.

Instead, consider more personal and meaningful recognition, such as these ideas:

  • Peer-to-peer recognition from the other frontline employees that see how hard each person works every day
  • Community-driven recognition from patients, patients’ families, and others in the community
  • A “day in the life” video feature, showing what employees go through on a daily basis, spreading awareness of the hard work employees do

By Small and Simple Things

Personalized recognition doesn’t have to be some big or expensive thing. Small gestures can make a big impact for many healthcare workers, such as a handwritten thank you card, a surprise coffee break, or an extra day of PTO. Consider what each employee needs, and find a way to recognize them in a way that helps them meet that need.

The Ripple Effect of Appreciation—Creating a Culture of Continuous Care

Recognition in healthcare should never be a one-time event. It’s a continual process that keeps everyone feeling valued and cared for, even through stressful times and long shifts. Here are some ways you can integrate recognition into your daily operations:

  • Implement peer recognition. Allow peers to recognize each other, since they work with each other all day every day. Awardco’s peer-to-peer recognition programs make it easy for everyone to call out the amazing things they see.
  • Carry around cards. Managers and leaders should carry around physical cards that express appreciation. That way, they can quickly hand them out on the spot, without the need of a computer. AwardCodes let you give cards that include points. That way, your people can use those points on rewards that are meaningful to them.
  • Talk to patients. Talk to patients each day to see who is going above and beyond. Even those professionals who stay positive and happy each day deserve to be recognized, and patients are the best place to learn who that may be.
  • Recognize patients. Allow healthcare professionals to recognize the patients who make their days easier or better. Provide them with snacks, cards, or other small gifts that they can give to their patients, spreading your culture of recognition even further.
Medical professionals looking at patient records.

Overcoming Common Recognition Challenges in Healthcare

Maybe you’ve tried to implement a recognition program before, only to see it crash and burn before disappearing. Or maybe you foresee a lot of challenges that make you hesitant. Let’s take a look at some of those challenges and provide some solutions.

Challenge #1: Not many employees are in front of a computer

Digital recognition tools make it easier than ever to spread appreciation—but what if people aren’t on computers at work?


  • SMS text notifications to spread recognition to anyone who has a phone
  • Offline recognition, such as AwardCodes, to allow for quick, on-the-spot praise
  • A wall of fame that highlights the awesomeness your people do

Challenge #2: Limited rewards and high markups

Only have a small budget for employee rewards? Markups can eat into that. On top of that, limited reward options can spoil any excitement employees have when they do get some of that budget to spend.


  • Digital recognition platforms that don’t have any markups or hidden fees
  • Recognition platforms that offer millions of reward options instead of limited catalogs
  • Customizable reward catalogs that fit healthcare employees’ specific needs

Challenge #3: Management Constraints

If everyone is busy at your organization, who is going to manage all of the recognition and rewards? Finding the time to do so can seem impossible for anyone assigned to the task.


  • Take advantage of automation features to automatically send out emails, rewards, etc
  • Track budgets and reports on a single platform
  • Get help with taxes and future planning

Awardco can provide all of these solutions and more to make healthcare recognition as easy as possible. Schedule a demo to see how we can help you.

Medical Professional with a superhero cape.