Building a Powerful EVS Employee Recognition System

Strains on our health care system, and EVS departments, in particular, makes recognition that helps drive employee retention and engagement more critical than ever to your success. Typically, healthcare organizations recognize employees with an annual thank-you, years of service program, personal actions that are above and beyond expectations, and/or hoc recognition moments. If your department already has a recognition initiative, you might find nuggets in our planning process for strengthening it. 

At the same time, recognition is one of six key tenants to creating a people-centric culture of engagement and the employee experience that impacts the patient experience and ultimately your bottom line through HCAHPS. To deliver a best-in-class experience for both employees and patients, all six tenants need to be considered. Delivering quality care, from clinical to cleaning, the front line to the back office will only take you so far. Intentionally engaging your team through (head-heart-hands) will help your team deliver human kindness among each other, patients, and their families.

The Case for recognition

From a business perspective, recognition feeds retention and greater productivity and develops people for their next role inside your organization. People will repeat good practices that are recognized. All health care workers today deserve recognition in a meaningful and thoughtful way and health care leaders need to understand how best to provide it. Now, more than ever, developing and implementing a comprehensive recognition system brings humanity into the work people do. 

This is meaningful work that when approached with compassion and empathy will shape how people think, how people come to work, and most importantly how people deliver care to one another. Maya Angelo said it best: “People may forget what you said, people may forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Notes to consider:

Operating in a vacuum 

EVS is a department within an entire system. When a department takes on an initiative such as developing a robust recognition program independently, it will not inherently include recognition from other departments. EVS interacts with other teams (nursing, dietary, etc.) with regularity. Think about adding recognition activity to counteract this constraint.

Internal vs. External

As an exclusive internal group, the ability to step back and see the big picture will not be as easy to see as it is for an outsider with recognition expertise. On the plus side, each person on your recognition team has knowledge of and experience with the healthcare field. A combination of external and internal resources will enable your team to architect a system with guidance that ensures the adoption of best practices that deliver results. 

Managing expectations

All Recognition Advocates will need to contribute time to this work, possibly requiring some of their current EVS to be reassigned.