Recognition Done Right: Departments, units show off best practices at Michigan Medicine

March 14, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership,

National Recognition Month is rolling along and for the past few weeks, faculty and staff have taken the opportunity to honor those who inspire them by carrying out exceptional patient care, education and research.

Fortunately, many units and departments across the organization take recognition to heart all year long.

Areas like the four listed below, who made significant improvements for recognition on the 2018 Employee Engagement Survey and prove that investing time and effort into recognition makes a big difference to staff.

Representatives from each unit recently sat down with Headlines to discuss their recognition programs and how they say “thank you” to employees in creative, meaningful ways.

Check out what they had to say — and find out if their practices can be applied to your area of the organization!

Office of Medical Student Education

Best practice: Monthly employee spotlights

How they do it: Every month, employees in the OMSE have the opportunity to nominate a colleague who has gone above and beyond in their daily work. If selected, the nominees will have an employee spotlight written about them, which highlights all the contributions they make to the department.

“These spotlights are important for several reasons,” said Valerie Jones, project manager in OMSE who helps create the spotlights. “First, they let people know that their contributions are appreciated. But on top of that, it gives people an in-depth look at what important role a coworker plays within our office — and we also include a fun facts section so everyone gets to know employees on a personal level.”

While the spotlights are emailed out to the entire office, they are also posted on bulletin boards so those who aren’t always at a desk are able to see them.

In addition to the spotlights, the office also holds regular appreciation events.

“A little thank you can go a long way,” Jones said. “We want to make sure our team members know that the work they do is incredibly valuable.”

Cell and Developmental Biology

One of the note cards given out by Cell and Developmental Biology. It was designed by Einor Jacobsen.

Best practice: While the department does a lot of recognition, one of the more unique things is a robust note card program.

How they do it: Faculty and staff are encouraged to directly recognize their colleagues. To make it as easy as possible to do so, the department has created a note card system, where employees can pick up a card and leave it on somebody’s desk or in their mailbox.

“Our note cards give a personal touch to recognition, as each one has a place for somebody to write a personal message,” said Lori Mirabitur, faculty program manager and assistant to the department chair.

Mirabitur said the program has been incredibly successful.

“We’re constantly replenishing our supply of cards, it’s become part of our culture here,” she said. “When you work in research, it’s harder to get the immediate gratification that you could possibly get from a patient or family member in a clinic. So this type of program is important for our team and gives everyone something to literally hold on to and feel proud of.”

Livonia Family Medicine

Best practice: Embracing a family atmosphere

How they do it: In Livonia, faculty and staff work with a specific motto in mind: “We are stronger together than we are alone.”

That means the clinic holds a number of recognition and engagement events, all of which have a personal touch.

“We don’t just hold an annual picnic, instead we hold an annual picnic where we exchange handmade gifts created by our faculty and staff members,” said Sam Julien, administrative manager of the clinic. “Our leaders also round every day, allowing them to get to know employees on a personal level.”

It’s all part of a family atmosphere fostered by leadership.

“Right from the start of your career here, it’s easy to see that we’re just a family who cares about each other,” Julien said. “That’s what makes this an incredible place to work.”

C&W 12E

The team on 12E.

Best practice: Putting frontline staff in control of engagement

How they do it: When it comes to creating a healthy work environment, the leadership team on 12E puts power in the hands of staff members.

“We have what we call a PEST committee, which stands for Positive Environment Support Team,” said Korey Poe, clinical nursing director on 12E. “That includes nurses and other staff members, who come together and implement ideas to ensure our morale, culture and work environment are top notch.”

For instance, the committee plans a quarterly community outreach event, along with hosting social gatherings like a trip to a cider mill or gathering at a restaurant to watch a Michigan football game. There are also special Nurses Week activities and mailbox treats that are handed out at random times throughout the year.

“We’ve been put into a unique position where we all have a say in the events and initiatives that will resonate best with our team,” said Carol Charlton, a member of the PEST committee. “It keeps everyone engaged with each other and proud of the work we do.”

For Poe, recognition is always at the forefront of the 12E culture.

“Staff satisfaction is just as important as patient satisfaction,” Poe said. “If our employees are happier and more engaged, we know that we will be able to provide the best patient care possible.”