With staff wellbeing of the utmost priority in care homes across the world, we explore the benefits of recognising and rewarding staff members in a way that works best for you.

In the demanding environment of a care home, where compassion and dedication are paramount, the recognition and appreciation of staff play a crucial role in maintaining quality care and staff morale. Recognising and rewarding the hard work of caregivers and other staff members not only boosts morale but also contributes to a positive work culture and enhances the overall quality of care provided. In this article, we delve into the significance of recognising and rewarding staff in a care home setting and explore the benefits it can bring.

It goes without saying that working in a care home can be emotionally and physically taxing. Recognising and rewarding staff for their efforts, whether through verbal appreciation, incentives, or awards, serves as a morale booster. It validates their hard work and dedication, motivating them to continue providing high-quality care.

“The process is just as important as the strategies that come out of it.”

Post-pandemic, there is still a struggle surrounding staffing in the care sector, with employee turnover being a significant challenge. By recognising and rewarding staff, you can enhance employee satisfaction and loyalty, reducing turnover rates. Moreover, a positive workplace reputation for recognising and rewarding staff can attract talented individuals, aiding in recruitment efforts moving forwards.

Naturally, when staff feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their roles. Recognising and rewarding staff for exceptional performance encourages them to strive for excellence and continuously improve their skills, ultimately leading to enhanced performance and better outcomes for residents.

A culture of recognition and appreciation fosters a positive work environment where staff feel respected, supported, and valued. This, in turn, promotes teamwork, collaboration, and mutual respect among staff members, creating a cohesive and harmonious workplace.

Happy and motivated staff are then more likely to provide compassionate, personalised care to residents, in turn, boosting a home’s reputation and more than likely, its occupancy levels. When staff feel recognised and rewarded for their efforts, they are more likely to go above and beyond to meet the needs of residents, leading to higher levels of resident satisfaction and wellbeing.

In terms of strategies for recognising and rewarding staff, look to organise regular appreciation events such as staff luncheons, awards ceremonies, or team-building activities to publicly recognise and celebrate staff achievements and milestones. Rather than rewarding groups, take the time to acknowledge staff contributions on an individual basis through personalised notes, thank you cards, or one-on-one meetings with management.

Aryanisha Lawes, Coach and Consultant on leadership, confidence and wellbeing for friendly growing teams, believes that the best strategies for recognising outstanding performance are always created in collaboration with existing staff. “This ensures they are meaningful for all team members, who may vary greatly in personality, background and interest. The process is just as important as the strategies that come out of it. It’s a great opportunity to get to know staff better and build trust at all levels – don’t waste it! Remember: not everyone is confident or comfortable to give ideas in open team meetings. Even if you’re a nice person, you still operate in a power dynamic that may make less senior staff nervous or shy around you,” said Aryanisha.

Implement incentive programs that reward staff for outstanding performance, such as bonuses, gift cards, extra paid time off, or other tangible rewards will also go a long way amongst your team.

Invest in staff development by also providing opportunities for training, education, and career advancement. Recognise and reward staff who demonstrate a commitment to personal and professional growth.

Another beneficial approach is peer-to-peer recognition, so encourage this where possible by implementing programs where staff can nominate their colleagues for recognition based on exemplary behaviour, teamwork, or acts of kindness.

Aryanisha explained that it’s important to provide helpful structure to staff engagement by clarifying any parameters – such as budget and timeframe. She recommends asking open questions including ‘What do you think outstanding performance looks like in your role?’, ‘How can we help you achieve this more easily?’, ‘How would you like to be rewarded?’. “Offer multiple methods for engagement and feedback, so that everyone contributes honestly. Use an experienced facilitator if you lack the skills and time to follow a clear and robust ‘Assess, Vision, Plan, Act’ cycle to turn vague ideas into sustained practice,” added Aryanisha.

You also need to ensure this process is communicated sensitively alongside efforts to address any major challenges or causes of stress within the team. Aryanisha explained that otherwise you could unintentionally come across as out-of-touch, avoidant or sugar-coating – “which would alienate staff. They might rather you prioritise making their daily work easier and safer, over developing new performance rewards. If in doubt, ask, don’t assume. Don’t let ‘fun’ activities like this distract you from any uncomfortable conversations or changes you’re avoiding.”

Aryanisha (Aah-ree-ah-neesha) Lawes can support staff wellbeing through online and in-person training and coaching that fits your needs and budget. This ranges from one-off workshops; a 30 day email series; eight week courses via Zoom; to ongoing coaching for leaders and their teams to address the root causes of stress. To help you decide if working together is a good fit, you can book a discovery call to discuss your values, mission and current challenges.

Aryanisha has experienced burnout from supporting people in vulnerable circumstances herself, so she is passionate about practical and sustainable solutions. Her 12-month programme Super Humans helps leaders in friendly growing teams to deeply embed change, bringing all staff along the journey to promote a caring, courageous and safe culture.

Recognising and rewarding staff in a care home setting is not just a gesture of appreciation; it is an essential investment in the wellbeing of both staff and residents. By fostering a culture of recognition and appreciation, care homes can create a positive work environment, enhance staff morale and performance, and ultimately improve the quality of care provided to residents.