How to Take Healthcare Employee Recognition to the Next Level: Best Practices from Dreamforce 2014

Senior Director of Marketing

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, California along with over 140,000 fellow attendees. While it is first and foremost a technology conference, with over 1,400 sessions, there’s definitely something for everyone, including healthcare HR professionals. In the session titled “Drive Dramatic Value with Recognition,” Kirsten Connelley, Strategic Consulting Manager for, shared how leading organizations are motivating employees to drive winning behaviors and reinforcing key skills using cloud-based recognition software. 

Why Should Healthcare Employers Update or Instate Recognition Programs?

According to a recent article by InteliSpend, 39% of employees feel under appreciated at work, with 77% reporting that they would work harder if they felt better recognized. While the concept of employee recognition programs are nothing new, these statistics justify the need for having an effective program. Even if you do have a recognition program already in place, when was the last time you reviewed it? If your healthcare organization has Millenials on staff, for example, are your recognition programs optimized for today’s workforce? As you may be aware, Millenials prefer instant feedback and providing feedback on an annual basis is no longer an effective strategy. Additionally, with today’s mobile workforce and the popularity of social media, turning to web-based recognition technology makes sense for organizations  across industries.

Create a More Open and Connected Organization

In order to be effective, recognition should be visible. Peer to peer recognition programs are closed systems and beyond the individuals themselves, no one else gets to see it. Recognition has to be open and visible in order to drive value and behaviors. Good deeds happen every day and employers should be able to recognize them. Transparency and visibility are two common goals for organizations, and a web-based recognition program can help achieve them by allowing employees to interact from their mobile devices. In today’s changing healthcare landscape, successful organizations can no longer work in silos; so it’s important to have that interconnectedness across every department.

Gamification: What a Difference a Badge Makes

According to Mashable, the term gamification refers to the use of game mechanics and game design techniques in non-game contexts. By making your recognition program fun by design, your healthcare organization can drive desired behaviors and improve the patient experience. The recognition software, for example, allows employees to recognize others for their actions by the use of badges on an internal social network. It’s important to bring credibility to the badges; however, employers should tie them to their organization’s key initiatives, company values and leadership behaviors. Some organizations are using the software to promote values such as well-being, ambassadorship and sustainability. If done right, it can be a great way to amplify your organization’s values and goals.

Tips for Rolling Out Your New Recognition Program

Driving change takes time, so it’s important to have a plan for promoting your new recognition program. Make sure you communicate who your top receivers and givers of recognition badges are. You can also hold an employee badge contest to kick-off your program and create some excitement around it. It also helps to involve leaders from other departments to ensure everyone is on board. For example, some organizations are creating functional badges that support specific department’s unique functions, which can create interest for the badges and what they stand for. Finally, make sure you work with your Marketing department to ensure the badges are designed to reflect your organization’s unique look and feel.

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