By Oakley Smith, RDN, LD, HHS Regional Director of Patient Experience
It’s International Environmental Services Week, so that means many organizations are going above and beyond to celebrate their team and their dedication. However, the appreciation and celebration shouldn’t stop once the week ends; it should be continued every day throughout the entire year. Bringing positivity and highlighting the team is an easy way to build a culture where each individual feels appreciated and respected. No matter the industry or how big the team, every leader can create a people-first culture by recognizing the team, improving communication, and treating everyone with respect on a daily basis.
Rallying the Team to Build Positivity
Meetings are a vital part of the success of a team, but how the leader approaches the interaction will affect the dynamic built between them and their employees. A key way to look at meetings is to not make them disciplinary, but instead to use them as an opportunity for developing the team and ingraining a culture of appreciation. There are many simple ways to create a more uplifting atmosphere during team meetings, such as playing upbeat music while everyone gets settled, providing a simple snack for the team to enjoy, or just starting off the conversation with an inspirational story or connect to purpose. These meetings should also be used as a platform for the team to share success stories and shoutouts, ask questions, and recognize a job well-done. Team meetings, when made engaging and filled with appreciation, can enhance morale and help to set a positive tone for the day ahead.
Providing Opportunities for Learning
As leaders work with their teams, they should focus on acknowledging their positive attributes and highlight their strengths. Within healthcare, and housekeeping particularly, managers should recognize items during rounding that the team members did well, and if there are areas that need improvement, they should discuss those openly without reprimanding the employee. This is where effective coaching plays a critical role, and by addressing an issue in a positive light, leaders can use it as a teaching opportunity. For example, a leader notices that a team member has not been cleaning patient rooms from top to bottom, but has done an exceptional job making sure the bed is made appropriately. The leader should celebrate the strength, then discuss the importance of cleaning top to bottom without calling the individual out, but rather focus on tips for improvement. Positive reinforcement coupled with supportive guidance leads to happier employees.
Saying Thank You and Using Manners
A simple thank you can certainly go a long way in showing employees that they are appreciated and respected. Bringing manners into the job can change the culture of the department. It is important as leaders to follow the golden rule and encourage a culture built on respect. Even when a team member completes a task that is part of their normal daily workflow, it is still something leaders should recognize. This empowers the individual to continue to work hard, because in-turn they feel that their duties are appreciated. Frontline team members work very hard every day, and by showing appreciation on a regular basis, team members will see that their work is meaningful.
It is the team members who make a business successful. Without the team, organizations would not be able to fulfill their goals. This must always be kept top of mind. When an organization builds an environment where everyone feels appreciated and respected--not just during holidays or celebrations but everyday--there will be foundation built on the values of protect, grow, and improve.
To learn more about HHS' approach to building a culture where team members feel appreciated and respected:
Oakley Smith joined HHS in 2017 as the Regional Director of Patient Experience. Oakley is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and has extensive experience working with patient satisfaction in the realms of both food and nutrition and environmental services. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition Sciences and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Middle Tennessee State University, and will graduate with a Master of Science in Nutrition from Murray State University in 2019.