How a Thank You Card Can Save Your Nursing Home!

Oftentimes, when a facility has had survey issues or turnover in leadership, employee morale also suffers.  One nice little tool that can drastically improve morale in your facility is the Thank You note.

You should attempt to create an atmosphere of not just catching people doing something but catching people doing something right.  There are several ways to do this.  Obviously, one is to make rounds and observe.  Secondly, you can ask your department heads in your morning stand-up meeting to report any employees who have gone above & beyond or has done a great job.  Also, you can put up a suggestion box for employees to be nominated for recognition for a good deed.

Once you have the names, write them a Thank You card. 

There are 4 rules to the Thank You card:

1.  Be timely.  Don’t write a Thank You card for something they did 6 months ago.  Recognize their positive behavior in a timely manner.

2.  Be specific.  “You’re doing a great job!” just doesn’t cut it.  It doesn’t sound sincere. So, be specific about what behavior you are recognizing and rewarding.  “George, I’m really happy to hear how well you took care of Mr. Santos today,” sounds much better.

3.  Give a little feeling.  It’s ok to allow some of your emotion to show.  You should let your staff member know if their behavior made you happy, proud, impressed, etc.  Let them know how you feel.

4.  Tell them to keep it up.  Rewarding positive behavior naturally encourages it to continue.

Once your Thank You card is written, mail it to their home.  This is the part that really impresses many people.  You could even mail a Thank You card to their spouse for understanding when Bill had to work over the other day. 

I’ve received a very positive response from this technique and several employees have said that it was the first time anyone had recognized their hard work.  The improvement it can have on morale is wonderful and it can even motivate some of the more difficult employees when applied correctly.  I definitely would recommend this as a tool to try in a troubled facility.

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