In a busy hospital or doctor’s office, it can be hard to make one-on-one connections with staff members or, more importantly, ensure that they feel valued. Different schedules make having large meetings or events a challenge, and the nature of medicine means emergencies can happen at any time and throw off any plans you may have.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to show your staff you appreciate them and increase their engagement at work. Here are a few suggestions.
Say Thank You Whenever You Can
Sometimes, thanks to stress and little sleep, your staff will be short-tempered — and you might find yourself snapping at nurses and technicians as well throughout the day. Instead of letting your own anger get the best of you, try saying thank you to the staff at every opportunity. It can be something as simple as thanking a nurse who lends you a stethoscope or expressing gratitude to an NP who saw one of your patients when you were too busy to meet with him. You’ll diffuse tense situations and build friendships among your staff members when you recognize the little things they do.
Learn and Use Your Coworkers’ Names
Writer Dale Carnegie said, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” That statement holds true today. Make an effort to learn the names of all the staff members you work with and use their names whenever you greet them. It may not seem like much, but saying “Hi, Jennifer!” when you pass the nursing supervisor or complimenting a technician with “Nice haircut, Jake!” shows that you’re interested in your coworkers and have taken the time to learn who they are.
Bring in Breakfast (or Lunch)
Never underestimate the power of food. Treating your staff to breakfast or lunch — or even a snack, if the budget is tight — as a surprise when they walk in the door goes a long way toward improving morale. It’s an inexpensive and easy gesture, but it means one fewer meal your staff has to think about and gives you and your coworkers the opportunity to chat and get to know each other while you dish up. To go the extra mile, provide some gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian options so everyone can indulge in a snack.
Write Personal Thank-You Cards
When’s the last time you sent a handwritten thank-you card? If you’re like most people, it’s been a while, and it’s probably been a while since your staff members have received one, too. Recognize a doctor, nurse, technician, assistant or other professional who provides exceptional service by giving him or her a personal card expressing gratitude for a job well done. They will never expect it, and knowing you took extra time to write down what you’ve noticed about their work will brighten their day.
Recognize Coworkers in Front of Their Peers
Sometimes the best way to make someone feel important is to make sure everyone at work knows about the great job they’re doing. If you don’t already have one in place, begin a recognition program and give staff members the chance to win gift cards or small incentives for providing extra help or simply being reliable employees. They’ll enjoy nominating their peers for awards and feel validated when their efforts are noticed and appreciated by leaders and coworkers as well.
Making your staff feel special doesn’t have to take a lot of money or an elaborate plan. These tips can help you better show appreciation and encourage employees to show that same courtesy to both the employees they work with and the patients they care for.