Rewards and Recognition Programs Increase Patient and Employee Satisfaction
Director of Marketing
Hospital systems face tremendous pressure from a number of forces, among them changing government regulations, tightening of reimbursements and an increasingly tight labor market.
Nearly 18 percent of new RNs resign from their first nursing job during the first year within their first year on the job, and one-third of them resign within their first two years. According to the 2019 National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report, the average cost of turnover for a bedside RN is $52,100 and ranges from $40,300 to $64,000. This results in the average hospital losing between $4.4 million and $6.9 million a year.
Data from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, a division of the federal government, show a projected deficit of more than 20,000 physicians in the U.S. by 2025 (taking into account graduate medical residents). A new report finds that the U.S. will need to hire 2.3 million new healthcare workers by 2025 to adequately take care of our aging population.
Providing quality healthcare to patients depends on engaged employees. It is more important now than ever to understand why staff members leave, and how you can attract and retain talented nurses, physicians and other staff. Interacting with patients can be stressful, and as insurance reimbursement assumes greater importance on the business side, healthcare workers are being asked to perform tasks more efficiently and with fewer resources. Consistent and sustained recognition of high-quality work is an important but often overlooked way to maintain high levels of workforce satisfaction.
Although the current labor situation in the healthcare industry is certainly driven by the inherently stressful responsibilities of employees and an aging population of baby boomers, the high turnover rate among RNs is also caused by a reason that can be controlled: employee recognition and satisfaction.
According to the Cicero Group, 78 percent of employees are highly engaged when they experience strong recognition, and according to The Center for Generational Kinetics, 65 percent of employees reported that they would work harder if they were recognized by their employers.
Underappreciated and overworked employees will never be able to perform to the best of their abilities. A successful rewards and recognition program decreases turnover, improves outcomes and promotes the core values of hospitals. Staff members are more engaged, work harder and are likelier to stay when they receive strong recognition. They also provide better patient care; highly engaged staff can reduce patient mortality by 7 percent and increase patient satisfaction by 5 percent (see infographic below).
Employee engagement strategies move the needle for employee satisfaction and retention. Healthcare managers should use these programs and combine them with the proper tools, education and empowerment methods to ensure that their employees are engaged with their work.
Execution is paramount for new initiatives to take hold. Recognition programs in the healthcare industry should be balanced between value- and performance-based initiatives.
- Provide a variety of daily recognition ideas, both non-monetary and monetary, formal and informal. A personal touch goes a long way toward showing employees that they are appreciated.
- Ensure manager buy-in through education and awareness. Make it easy for managers to run reports, receive notifications and recognize staff within their workflows.
- Adopt appropriate program technology. A unified and flexible recognition program offers administrators and employees access from any device, making it easy to recognize and be recognized.
- Periodically and formally review the program to customize goals, initiatives and rewards.