Regular recognition and frequent appreciation are crucial components to building a team of engaged employees. Without engaged employees, it can be difficult to provide the high quality care and service that your residents deserve and should expect. In fact, as much as 20% of employee productivity can be directly linked to the amount of recognition or praise an employee has received in the past seven days, according to research by Gallop!
Even more important is the consequence of not creating a culture of praise: employees become actively disengaged, and in some cases, openly hostile at work, sabotaging the work culture and damaging morale and productivity across the board. Appreciation is a huge lever in reducing turnover; employees who report they aren’t adequately recognized are two to three times more likely to quit within a year.
The reality in most organizations today is that employees don’t receive enough positive feedback. For leaders, it can be hard— keeping up with the bustle of the everyday, staying on top of emerging problems, and putting out fire after fire can occupy most of a leader’s time. This can create an unintended focus on the negative—reminding employees about work they’ve missed or done incorrectly rather than focusing on the good work that most employees do every day.
Employers often worry about wage pressure from competitors, but the reality is that internal work culture is a much bigger predictor of an employee’s intent to quit. People want money, sure—but they also want recognition; they want to be noticed and appreciated. Don’t assume that your staff know that you appreciate their work – you need to say so frequently!
Even if you are on board with supporting a culture of appreciation, it can be hard to find the time when there are so many other daily pressures and unexpected events that constantly come up. The key to developing a successful culture of appreciation is to embed practices into everyday work.
Here are 10 tips to improve productivity through employee appreciation:
- Provide regular, appropriate and constructive feedback. Make sure it is timely so that it is relevant and applicable to the context of the situation for which the feedback is being provided. Remember the effect of praise is short-lived – so look to provide it properly and appropriately every week.
- Consider using a calendar to record when and who you provide feedback to during a month-long period. When reviewing the calendar, notice if there are people you are missing (especially those who work part-time, or on non-daytime shifts) or people who aren’t receiving adequate time. Be sure to address these gaps.
- Send a hand-written thank-you card to an employee’s house. Most mail these days is impersonal bulk or junk pieces, and a personal card demonstrates your investment in sharing your appreciation to the team member.
- Examine the overall organizational approaches to recognition: Do you recognize performance, exemplifying company values, and engagement or do you recognize longevity? Worse yet to you support a culture of just showing up?
- Remember that people value positive reinforcement and positive words over negative feedback. You attract positive people and encourage them to be positive in turn creating a positive spiral effect.
- Provide a simple way for residents, family members and co-workers to recognize good work and provide feedback. This could be done in a number of ways, whatever you choose make sure it is easy to do and communicated well.
- Start your stand-up meeting by having everyone share a positive story or appreciation for a co-worker from the past week, even if you can only do this once a week imagine the impact.
- Remember to make praise “frequent, specific and—most importantly—genuine.” Read Denise’s article in Long-Term Living to learn more.
- Ensure that line supervisors and charge nurses provide regular positive feedback for staff—in the hustle of everyday busyness, sometimes CNAs and other line staff only hear about tasks they’ve missed or done incorrectly.
- Find the forms of feedback that mean the most to each of your employees and use them – it makes the recognition and its positive effects more powerful. Some people like public appreciation, while others may be embarrassed by it—treat employees as individuals and tailor your approaches based on their preferences.
It takes time and dedication, but appreciated employees will be happier and more engaged, leading to higher performance, more satisfied residents and better outcomes for your community. Use these simple steps to improve your productivity.
This article was written by consultant, Sean Carey.