Reducing Staff Turnover in Healthcare: The Power of Staff Recognition

November 12, 2023 | 5 minute read

Niuz Bites

  • Regular recognition is key.This doesn’t mean daily accolades, but a consistent pattern of acknowledgment that keeps morale high.
  • Small gestures can make a big difference. A thank you note, a public mention, or even a small token can make a staff member feel valued.
  • Recognizing team efforts is just as important as individual achievements. It promotes teamwork and collective responsibility.
  • Many effective methods are cost-free, focusing instead on acknowledgment and praise.

Frontline care delivery staff turnover in today’s healthcare and long-term systems is a serious issue. According to a 2020 Ontario government study, nearly 45% of workers leave their jobs due to burnout–many in as little as 10 months. This kind of attrition is unsustainable and leaves patients lacking critical care in understaffed homes. 

Adding to this challenge, temporary staffing agency costs can quickly escalate to up to 3X the normal wage of a full-time employee. So, you’re not only facing replacement costs that can run up to $20,000 per person, as well as overtime pay for remaining staff that now have to pick up the slack, but two to three times the cost for less consistent care.

So it’s no surprise that holding on to experienced and skilled staff is one of the most important challenges in managing healthcare. But how? One solution is deceptively simple: staff recognition. Let’s look at how this idea–the simple act of publicly recognizing and communicating staff achievements–can create an environment with positive outcomes for all care delivery staff. 

Niuz was built to fill this critical communications gap. Niuz can act like a closed internal social network where management can easily share not only critical updates and information to everyone regardless of access, but also kudos and recognition of staff achievements everyone can share in.

Why Is Public Recognition Important in Staff Retention?

Let’s start with a simple truth: everyone wants to feel valued. In the world of healthcare, particularly among frontline care delivery staff, recognition plays a pivotal role. These professionals often work under stressful conditions: in addition to frequently working overtime and understaffed, healthcare teams deal with physical, verbal, and emotional abuse from residents and families regularly.

Recognizing their contributions not only boosts morale but also fosters a sense of belonging and purpose. It’s about creating an environment where staff feel seen and appreciated, and that will ultimately contribute to increased retention.

By democratizing staff appreciation, you create a new level of inclusivity. That inclusivity means every member of the team, regardless of their role or background, has an equal opportunity to be recognized. It’s about creating a level playing field where everybody is celebrated, and every contribution is valued. This approach not only promotes **staff recognition** but also builds a stronger, more cohesive team dynamic.

How Can Public Recognition Influence Retention?

When frontline care delivery staff are publicly recognized, it’s not just about acknowledging their work; it’s about affirming their invaluable contribution to the healthcare team. 

Public recognition can range widely, including: 

  • Awards ceremonies
  • Shout outs in team meetings (peer-to-peer, and manager to reports)
  • Celebrating birthdays and work anniversaries
  • Work perks and bonuses
  • Welcoming new faces
  • Employee of the week/month
  • Special contest/event champions 

This level of regular, authentic, and personalized acknowledgment embedded in your work culture can significantly enhance staff morale and camaraderie, making frontline staff feel more connected to their workplace, and reducing the urge to look elsewhere for job satisfaction.

Another big advantage of having a centralized communications platform that all staff can access is a better ability to share perks–like extended benefits. For example, LTC homes will often offer staff discount codes for things like gym memberships or cell phone plans, but finding this information can be challenging. Even if the organization lists details on an intranet, front-line staff might not be able to access it without a corporate email or care to bother looking because of poor UI.

We hear time and again that care delivery staff don’t even know about the majority of perks they could have access to– which causes frustration on their part, and wasted money (and IT admin time) for the org. A solution like Niuz allows management to communicate this into the app in an extremely user-friendly interface.

Can Improving Communications Really Boost Frontline Care Delivery Staff Retention?

Communication is key in any relationship, and the workplace is no exception. Regular, clear communication about role expectations, opportunities for growth, and a chance to provide management feedback can make a world of difference.

For care delivery staff retention, fostering an environment where open dialogue is encouraged can lead to a deeper understanding of job roles and greater job satisfaction.

What Are Some Best Practices for Implementing Employee Recognition Programs?

Implementing an effective recognition program isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. It requires understanding the unique needs and preferences of your care delivery staff. That said, some of the most common practices include:

  • Personalized recognition. Tailoring the recognition to suit the individual’s contribution and personality. For example, attach a photo of the person being recognized and be specific about what they’ve done that deserves praise.
  • Regular and timely. Recognition should be an ongoing process, not just an annual event. Recognizing efforts in real-time shows the entire staff how much attention they’re receiving from management.
  • Diverse forms of recognition. From verbal praise to awards, variety keeps the recognition exciting. Think about contests or incentives during shifts, fun programs, or labels like “Shift Champion” and “Hall Monitor”.
  • Involvement of leadership. When senior management is involved in recognition, it adds weight and significance to the gesture. Recognition shouldn’t just come from those involved in the day-to-day. Praise from upper management can help make staff feel even more greatly appreciated.

Public recognition of your dedicated teams is a powerful tool in reducing staff turnover. It builds a culture of improved communications, inclusivity, transparency, and trust. By recognizing the hard work and dedication of care delivery staff, healthcare organizations can foster a positive work environment where everyone feels valued and motivated to stay. 

Remember, a little appreciation goes a long way.

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