Blog spotlight: The power of everyday recognition

Nurse Leader Insider, June 29, 2009

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This week, Bonnie Clair, MSN, RN, retention project manager at CoxHealth in Springfield, MO, discusses the healthcare leader's role in providing staff recognition:

Quint Studer, a well known healthcare leader who has led hospitals to breakthrough results, is a huge proponent of consistent and frequent employee recognition. One point Studer repeatedly makes in his publications is that many leaders never grasp hold of how vital recognition really is to employee morale.

Here is a sampling of Studer's argument for giving compliments to staff, from Results That Last (2008): "So why don't we give more compliments? For one thing, you've got to really watch for what someone is doing right and most of us haven't mastered that art ... leaders need to develop the skill sets for noticing incremental improvement because rewarded and recognized behavior gets repeated."

Sometimes it helps us recognize best practice if we examine the flip side, or what Studer calls "myths." This is Studer's list of common myths and excuses often cited for not giving staff compliments. Maybe you've heard some of them:

  • "If I compliment them too much, they'll get a big head."
  • "If I tell them they've done a good job, they'll get complacent."
  • "I don't need any compliments—why should they?"
  • "They should just be happy with a day's work for a day's pay—in fact, they should be grateful to have a job at all!"

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