Team Member recognition is a vital component to any successful management program, no matter the service or industry, but it is even more important in healthcare. Team members who spend their days serving patients in hospitals and supporting the environment of care are more than just housekeepers, or facilities managers, or chefs -- they are hospitality professionals who represent both the hospital as well as the contract company, in the case of outsourced services.
As the healthcare marketplace becomes more and more competitive, hospital leaders are increasingly looking to outside vendors to take on some of the cost and responsibility of managing day-to-day non-clinical operations, from housekeeping and foodservice to linen utilization management, facilities management, grounds maintenance, and even pest control. While, on paper, many of these individuals’ jobs may not appear complicated, the reality is that the way they carry out their daily tasks, including their attitude and demeanor, can have a significant impact on the patient experience -- and ultimately, the hospital’s federal reimbursement rates. Effective managers understand this, and strive to make team member recognition a consistent facet of daily rounds.
Showing team members that their attitudes and their individual contributions are valued can go a long way in terms of building morale and promoting a positive working environment.
While regular recognition on an individual basis is an effective way to reinforce positive behavior, it’s also important to provide thanks and recognition to the team as a whole. Every year, there are designated national weeks to celebrate nearly every individual role in healthcare, including support service roles like housekeeping, foodservice, and facilities management.
Each year, our teams across the country celebrate their respective weeks, with special events each day, gifts and giveaways for team members, and a celebratory meal or party for the entire team.
For ideas on how best to celebrate our teams, we spoke with some of our industry-leading managers and executives, who take the opportunity to recognize their team’s good work each year during national healthcare team members’ recognition weeks.
Here are some of their best suggestions for recognizing your team.
- Host a picnic, barbecue, or family meal for your team members and their families. You can also make it a potluck, and have your management team provide the main course, utensils, plates, napkins, and some beverages, and encourage team members to bring sides, desserts, drinks, etc. Add games for the kids (and grown-ups) and you’ve got a fun and memorable event.
- Encourage hospital leadership to make a point to personally visit your team members to thank them for their contributions and recognize their value and importance to the hospital.
- Have your team members nominate specific tasks for the department managers to take on for them, then let the team vote to pick which tasks the managers will take on each day.
- Ask leaders and teams from other departments who interact regularly with your team members to commit to providing snacks, a cake, an ice cream party, or some other treat for your team on a specific day of your team’s recognition week. Try to line up a different department sponsor for each day of the week, so you can maximize your budget for a big party or event to cap off a whole week of celebration.
- Create team member superlative awards, such as best attitude, best smile, best team player, etc., to be voted on by the team as a whole.
- Get a big roll of raffle tickets and hand them out all week to team members on your rounds, whenever you see them going above and beyond, or excelling at a specific task, and at the end of the week, raffle off a bunch of prizes (one or two larger prizes and a selection of small to mid range prizes works well).
- Have each team member talk about another team member who inspires them, or who they feel deserves recognition. Peer recognition can be very powerful, so encourage them to be specific.
- Write hand-written thank you notes to each member of your team, and take the time to personalize them to each individual.
- Create a special daily game or activity, which can be carried out during each shift meeting, such as a department-specific trivia game. Allow the winner to supervise the manager for their shift, or to assign one of his or her tasks to the manager that day.
To learn more about HHS and our approach to healthcare support services management, please contact us.