After reading “Timely Tips for Keeping Employees Engaged this Holiday Season from HR daily, it got me thinking about how important it is to keep employees motivated throughout the holiday season, especially in healthcare. Hospital and continuing care community employees should always be focused on patient and resident safety and satisfaction, but they might be distracted this time of year. Keep your employees focused (and willing to go the extra mile to improve patient/resident satisfaction – instead of anxious to get out of work and get their holiday shopping done!) by following these strategies:

Recognize Employees

Last month, we wrote an article in HR Pulse profiling the outstanding employee reward and recognition program at Trinity Health System. David Arnold, Vice President of Administrative Services, and an Employee Reward and Recognition Team Member, at Trinity Health, noted: “Our Managers realize that it is worth taking the time to recognize their teams. The staff really responds positively to it.” Have your employee recognition program kick into high gear right before the holidays. At Trinity Health, managers take a positive discipline approach throughout the year. This method helps build employees up, rather than tear them down, and promote employee development, rather than punishment, as a way to resolve issues. When it comes to putting together employee development plans, consider using leadership assessment software to figure out the best path for your employees.

It’s also important to track recognition and employee engagement. Each month, managers at Trinity Health System are asked to send three thank you notes to staff for outstanding performance. This information is recorded in their performance management system and incorporated into employee evaluations. One aspect of Trinity Health System’s performance management system that has been very useful for employee recognition is the documents functionality. Documents, such as certificates of recognition, can be scanned and stored electronically. If your managers aren’t regularly writing thank you notes to employees, make it a priority right before the holidays, as a way to motivate staff. For those team members working during the holidays, consider giving them a special certificate to recognize their dedication.

Also, think about making your recognition program fun. Create a game or competition that involves employees accomplishing all their goals within a given time frame. For example, whoever completes his/her tasks during a shift in the most efficient manner will be awarded a gift card. For top performers, this will push them to work even harder to win the prize.

Give Some Direction

When an employee comes into work stressed over holiday planning or shopping, you don’t want that stress to affect his or her performance on the job. Give employees some iStock 000011410535XSmalldirection on their tasks, and what needs to be accomplished on that given day or week, to help them prioritize. Utilize your performance management system to set online tasks and reminders. Not only will you be able to better define your organization’s goals, but managers will have the opportunity to use a one-click report page to identify overdue tasks for their employees. If that isn’t enough, try encouraging managers to have quick department meetings every week for employees to ask questions and voice concerns.

Give Them a Breather

Try to give the employees extra break time during the holiday season. These short breaks allow the employees to stay focused longer. During the holidays, everyone is thinking about what gifts need to be bought and extra family responsibilities. By relieving a little of the pressure at work for your healthcare employees, they’ll feel less stressed around the holidays and more motivated to work hard knowing their organization cares about their well-being at this fun, but sometimes stressful, time of year.

Happy holidays!

Does your healthcare organization have patient satisfaction survey goals to motivate your employees? Learn more about performance management and HCAHPS by downloading a replay of our HCAHPS Readiness Webinar

About The Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff is a team of writers with a passion for helping healthcare organizations manage their biggest and most important investment: their employees.