It is so interesting to me that this week the topic was motivation and how to keep employees motivated while boosting morale. This week has been a rough one for me in that regard because work has been so crazy and I have been feeling extremely burned out. We have had really hard patients, tons of discharges with just as many admits and on top of it all we have been short staffed every shift making me feel like I’m stretched even more thin. I feel like motivating employees and keeping morale high is one of the hardest things for an employer to do. There are so many factors that they cannot control and in the healthcare world change is the only ever present constant and therefore it makes keeping people motivated really hard. I liked the article that talked about how to motivate employees in their twenties. Maybe I liked it because I fall into this category but I think some of these principles can be applied across the board. Everyone loves to receive affirmation no matter their age. People want to feel valued and like they are doing a good job. This should be done on a regular basis and on a one on one basis. This is something that can be really tricky to do when you have 70+ people on your payroll for your unit. Another point that this article made was to always teach your staff because they love to learn. I took this as over communicating. I find that people become really frustrated when they feel like they don’t know what they are doing or don’t fully know what is expected of them. If a manager can over teach and over communicate what expectations are and how to do things, lines of communication will be clear and people will know how to appropriately move forward. Another point that I really liked that a couple of articles made was to set an example. Attitudes are contagious and if a manager or leader has a good one, so will everyone else. There is nothing more disheartening in the workplace when a leader says something and then does not do it. For example, my manager rolled out a new matrix this past May and said if we didn’t like it we could go back to the old one after a month or two. Well after 4 months passed and multiple people talked with our manager about how the matrix wasn’t working he still didn’t go back to the old one. This was incredibly frustrating for everyone and made some people so upset that they left our unit. Managers have so walk their talk.
The group discussion was great this week. I full expected everyone to have the same list of things to boost morale and motivate employees to stay but everyone offered a new idea of some kind. We all agreed on the following plan. The consensus that we came to was this:
- Plan more group activities for the unit (including an upcoming Christmas party, and a monthly potluck and outside quarterly activities)
- Create an open door policy – this will include monthly and/or quarterly check in for employees. An anonymous suggestion box will also be included in this open door policy plan.
- More employee recognition – this part of the plan will include a success board in the break room, as well as an employee of the month. Shout out cards will also be included.
- Split shifts on all major holidays – only having to work 6 hours on all major holidays (unless you prefer to work a full 12 hour shift) to improve moral during the holidays and allow people to spend more time with loved ones.
- Extra paid day off – Perhaps offering a little bit of a break could help our employees catch a break without becoming frustrated and quitting.
- Lunches, meals or recognition meals periodically to reward hard working staff.
- Continued education opportunities, letting staff know we value their hard work and are willing to pay for them to progress in their education and skill set.
- Analyze the schedule – Identify if there are any issues with individuals getting fair amounts of vacations, holidays off etc. A good schedule can make or break the attitude of employees. Rework the current scheduling/staffing process.
When it comes to applying the things I have learned from this unit in my practice I have learned a few things. I have realized that I need to become more involved myself in my unit. Simply going to work, putting in my 12 hours a day and then leaving will not help me feel like I belong. I need to join committees, go to parties and get to know the people I work with so that I feel like I have a place. I think this will really motivate me to stay and boost my morale when times get tough and the work is exhausting. In the future, when I am a leader of some kind, I think he most important thing I do will be in the way I would treat my employees. I want to always make sure the people I work with feel valued and appreciated. I want to always treat everyone the same and be fair and kind. I also hope to set a good example and practice what I preach. These two things will be the best ways that I can help boost morale and motivate my staff to stay despite how hard things may get sometimes.