Employee recognition programs: what works (McKnight’s LTC News)

Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News:


Employee recognition programs: what works

After Ms. Ryan’s psychotherapy session, I stopped at the nursing station and asked the nurse for the name of her aide. The nurse pointed to a uniformed woman right next to me, who turned and asked me with hostility, “How do you know it was me?” Surprised, I responded, “I just wanted to tell you Ms. Ryan was really happy with how you did her hair today. She wanted me to thank you for her.” The aide appeared stunned. The nurse commented, “We usually expect complaints, not compliments.”

If your staff is more prepared for criticism than praise about its work, it’s an especially good time to consider positives of an employee recognition program.

Benefits of employee recognition programs

Studies show that employee engagement, productivity and customer service are about 14% better in companies where recognition occurs, compared to companies without a program that acknowledges their efforts. In addition, companies with an effective recognition program have a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate than those with an ineffective program.

Ineffective programs tend to reward employees for tenure rather than performance.  (Apparently those 10-year pins aren’t making the desired impact.) Effective programs offer specific feedback about the actions of workers and make it easy to provide that feedback.

Interestingly, there’s a substantial disconnect between the 80% of senior leaders who believe their employees are being recognized on a monthly basis and the 22% of individual workers who report their peers being acknowledged that frequently.

The Oregon Health Care Association’s Staff Retention Toolkit is an excellent resource for information about different types of Employee Recognition Programs (see page 46 in it). The toolkit notes these additional benefits:

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Employee recognition programs: what works

Nurses Standing Outside A Hospital

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