March 18, 2024
March 18, 2024

Inspiring Healthcare Employee Recognition Ideas

Employee Recognition for a Modern Workforce
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For such an important and life-saving industry, healthcare can be relatively thankless. Many healthcare employees give their all to help other people with no thought of reward—but that can lead to a lack of feeling valued, which then leads to burnout. In the past few years:

  • 3 in 5 physicians say they’ve suffered from burnout
  • 54% of nurses reported feeling burned out
  • 7 in 10 clinicians don’t feel valued at work

Burnout causes apathy, a lack of energy and focus, low motivation, and even health problems, and it’s running rampant through the healthcare industry. One of the best ways to curb the spread is with recognition.

Healthcare employees deserve to feel recognized, valued, and appreciated, especially because they do so much for everyone else. 

The question is, how do you create a culture of recognition for your healthcare employees? When employees have busy, unpredictable hours and are often on their feet, what can hospitals, clinics, and offices do to spread more appreciation? And why does it matter?

Why Is Appreciation So Important for Healthcare Employees?

Healthcare work has always been difficult and high-stress, but it’s been even worse since the Covid pandemic. Long hours, dangerous situations, and a lack of gratitude are all reasons why healthcare workers may feel burned out and unhappy. However, recognition can turn everything around.

When employees are regularly recognized, their frustration levels drop by 29%. Recognition improves work quality, inspires trust, and reinforces feelings of meaning and purpose for employees. And when leaders regularly recognize employees, every measure of morale, productivity, customer satisfaction, and retention go up.

Not only are those benefits amazing, healthcare employees typically want recognition more than those in other professions! Studies have shown employees in professions that focus on helping others think recognition is more important than salary.

If making employees feel better at work isn’t motivation enough, what about finding a solution for the national healthcare employee shortage? Since people who aren’t recognized are twice as likely to quit compared to those that are recognized, recognition can lower turnover by 31%. Retain and attract healthcare employees with a culture of recognition.

Healthcare Employee Recognition Program Ideas

Knowing that recognition is impactful and important is only part of the equation—you also have to know how to implement effective healthcare appreciation ideas. Here are some ideas you can try.

Create a Peer-to-Peer Recognition Program

Instead of relying on managers or senior leaders to recognize healthcare employees, let peers and coworkers recognize each other. They work together on the front lines, and they see the small acts of kindness and collaboration that leaders may not notice.

Peer-to-peer recognition is the perfect avenue for healthcare employees to give kudos to each other without taking much time or effort, which will naturally spread feelings of appreciation to more employees more often. Plus, digital tools like Awardco streamline the recognition process, making it easy for anyone in the organization to recognize someone else.

Emphasize Offline Recognition

Many healthcare employees aren’t on computers very often, so modern digital recognition tools don’t solve healthcare-specific challenges. However, offline recognition can reach all of your employees, regardless of where or when they work. Examples of offline recognition include:

  • Handwritten note
  • In-person compliment or expression of gratitude
  • Gift basket, flowers, or other gift
  • Public shoutout
  • Printed award

Tangible rewards can spread recognition to all, ensuring offline and frontline employees still feel appreciated.

At Awardco, we make offline recognition easy with AwardCodes. These printable, customizable cards make it easy to hand out recognition to anyone who deserves it right on the spot. Plus, you can add points to the cards for even more rewarding recognition.

Plan Company-Wide Celebrations, Gifts, and Activities

Informal recognition such as spot recognition and peer-to-peer recognition is crucial, but formal recognition from the organization is just as important! Some great ways to spread appreciation from the company itself include:

  • Create a birthday program that celebrates each employee on their birthday. Consider offering their favorite food or snack, and send them a personalized gift or card.
  • Send company-wide gifts for holidays. (Or for regular, run-of-the-mill days!) Meaningful gifts can boost morale, loyalty, and engagement, and they help employees find more satisfaction in their jobs.
  • Plan company or team activities that strengthen relationships and build collaboration. Let employees get to know each other outside of work during a subsidized activity and help them take a break from the daily grind of work.
  • Don’t forget about each employee’s work anniversary—offer service awards that are personalized and meaningful for each employee.

When recognition and appreciation comes directly from the company, employees will feel appreciated and valued.

Celebrate Healthcare Holidays

First off, National Employee Appreciation Day is the first Friday in March, and you should always celebrate that. But did you know that there are dozens of healthcare-centric holidays throughout the year? Here are some key healthcare-based holiday celebrations to know about:

  • Certified Nurses Day - March 19th
  • National Doctors Day - March 30th
  • Healthcare HR Professionals Week - third week in March
  • National Nurses Week - May 6th-12th
  • National Hospital Week - second week in May
  • National CNA Week - third week in June
  • Medical Assistants Day - October 23rd

Take advantage of these holidays to show your appreciation for your healthcare employees. Offer food, snacks, notes of appreciation, gifts, or cash for your hardworking employees at these times.

Create an Employee-Centric Healthcare Organization

Recognizing and appreciating healthcare workers makes their work more rewarding and can lower turnover. With burnout more prevalent than ever before, this is more important now than ever before. With services like Awardco, healthcare recognition is also easier than ever before. Contact us to set up a demo today.

Jefferson Hansen
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An avid lover of fantasy books, a proud Hufflepuff, and a strong proponent of escapism, Jeff has a love of good storytelling. He relies on that for both his professional work and his writing hobby (don’t ask about the 10+ novel ideas collecting virtual dust on his computer).