It is normal and important for employees to have spaces to vent and express their frustrations about the workplace. In the best of cases, complaining leads to improvements. Unfortunately, more often than not, a culture of complaining can lead to toxic work environments and turn over. Negative speak in break rooms, backhanded comments, and happy hours teeter between necessary grievances and unproductive conversations destroying morale. If the work place suffers from an imbalance of negativity, it’s important to be intentional with positive initiatives. San Diego Medical Waste has 3 tips for improving company morale.
It may sound a little like your summer camp days, but if you can model public praise based on specific and authentic contributions then you will begin to see shout-outs happen more organically. Set aside 2-5 minutes in your staff meetings to open the floor up for shout-outs, have a board dedicated to sticky notes with shout-outs in the break room, or create a google form that links shout-outs to the end of staff emails. Think about sustainable ways to make this easy to access. Making shout-outs routine allows for this to become more natural and engrained in the culture of the workplace.
When considering what makes a strong “shout-out”, think about highlighting behavior and actions you would like to see happen more often. A weak shout-out is generic and easy. For example, think about the difference between saying, “Joel did a great job rounding on a difficult patient last week” vs. “Joel displayed an incredible amount of patience with a family during a particularly challenging moment in our rounding last week. Even though there was a lot of charting he needed to do, he took the time to show compassion and listen to the concerns from a family in order to make them feel more confident about the care we provided for their loved one”. General and weak shout-outs are a waste of time, but specific and authentic public statements of praise serve as models of workplace success.
2. Traditions of Recognition
There are classic examples of this such as “Employee of the month” and primo parking spaces reserved for high performers or veteran employees, but what are more frequent and interesting traditions you can incorporate into what you are already doing? Do you have a weekly meeting that can spare 2 minutes to focus on something positive? How about a daily email that can begin with a quick picture or anecdote of something funny, successful, or highlighting a challenge overcome. Maybe something tangible, like a stuffed animal or pin, can serve as a traveling trophy given to an employee every month for outstanding work. Whoever receives the recognition is charged to pass it on. This can be done weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Pencil it into the calendar and watch how staff own the process and get excited about celebrating one another. Again, this doesn’t need to be a 30 minute presentation. Just take 2-3 minutes of celebrating and move on to the rest of the meeting.
3. Positive Feedback
When coaching or reviewing a particular moment with an employee, see and praise EVERYTHING that is positive and productive...even if it seems like a small and obvious task. Doing what is expected should be praised so that a culture of laziness doesn’t take over. It is okay to tell an employee, “I really appreciate that you prioritize reading your emails every day”, “You are always on time to work”, and “You greet coworkers every morning with a smile”. It is quick for many to want to skip to the constructive and more difficult feedback and ignore the common achievements of everyday work, but acknowledging that you notice those small but important actions will make employees feel valued and known. Encourage staff to recognize these things with one another by designating time for one-on-one check-ins with each other. Create a protocol of sharing 3 positive observations and 1 constructive piece of feedback. If protocols feel too formulaic, model this kind of conversation with a coworker in front of staff and then request they do the same with one another. The stronger your model is, the better staff can participate. It’s okay to write down what you want to say beforehand or even rehearse the kind of feedback you want to see employees give. Intentionally carve out time and or space for positive feedback to happen.
For more information about our services and proper medical waste disposal, contact San Diego Medical Waste Services, LLC, for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 619-990-4604.