What are the most powerful practices that will motivate hospital personnel? The healthcare manager’s responsibility is to see that services are coordinated and are provided so that the hospital can function as a unified whole to benefit the patient and the community. The effective manager understands that employees need to know that they matter, to know what the organization is trying to do and their role in it, and to feel connected to others in their common efforts. The manager can optimize personnel functions by attending to these three basic human needs: to be recognized, to be informed, and to be connected.
How to Motivate with Recognition
We are motivated to do our best when our efforts are recognized and appreciated. A well-run hospital is staffed by people who care about what they do and know that their efforts make a difference in the effective functioning of that hospital. They also know that their work is seen and appreciated, by coworkers as well as by management staff and by patients. To produce this level of awareness, the healthcare manager throws a light on the work that is being performed and communicates this in ways that motivate and encourage excellence.
Successful recognition programs in hospitals are well designed and tied to the organization’s mission and goals. Excellence standards are articulated for the entire staff, and those nominated and selected for the awards are recognized in a formal way. The awards may be in the form of a plaque, a monetary gift, or some other prize that is valued by employees. Recognition awards need not be tangible; social recognition can be a powerful motivator. Examples of standards are new ways to improve services, procedures that can raise efficiency and lower costs, and work performance that went over and beyond the call of duty.
The healthcare manager can institute other recognition programs that are informal and department centered. When employees can give voice to their own ideas of what constitutes excellent service and how they would like to be recognized, their sense of ownership will be a motivating force.
Motivating by Keeping Personnel Informed
It is important for every member of the hospital staff to know that their daily work is connected in some way with the work of other staff, and to the overall functioning of the hospital. It is important for them to know where the hospital is heading, the changes that are being planned which will affect them, and also how the hospital will be affected by societal changes that are occurring. In other words, it motivates employees to have the big picture and to be part of changes that will occur to meet the needs of the future. It is motivating to be an important cog in the wheel. It is unmotivating to do your daily job not knowing what’s going on around you.
A major part of the healthcare manager’s work is to communicate in its widest sense–to keep all levels of personnel informed not only of information that is directly relevant to their positions, but which affect the hospital as a whole and other departments so that employees have the big picture and can adjust accordingly. To know is to be empowered.
Motivating by Establishing Connections
When provisions are made for employees to communicate with others about their common concerns, and to work together to solve their mutual problems, team work is formed. When employees get to know their coworkers as thinking/feeling persons, the sense of community grows. The healthcare manager can provide this connectedness by creating opportunities for interactions within and between departments.
The communications of the healthcare manager mentioned above is an important ingredient in building a sense of community. These should give high visibility to the goals and mission of the hospital and how they are being met. Personal stories of patients and how they were helped, success stories of remarkable medical achievements, noteworthy achievements of staff– anything that reinforces the identification with and pride of being a part of the organization brings loyalty and commitment.
The Hospital of the Future
Demographic shifts in the nation, altered life styles, technological advances and new medical discoveries will bring dramatic changes to the structure and organization of hospitals and medical services. Those hospitals will thrive that have kept their staff informed and working together toward common goals, and who were motivated by recognition for excellence.
Additional Resource: Strategies to Motivate Staff Nurses