Simple interventions can motivate your employees and encourage them to go the extra mile, says Theresa Shaw
Working in healthcare can provide enormous satisfaction but managers need to support staff to maintain the high levels of motivation and commitment that delivering quality care requires.
It can be easy to focus on what needs improving and not acknowledge what is good.
Motivating staff touches so many aspects of nursing. A quick search on nursingtimes.net generates more than 5,000 hits. These are not “how to” papers but a vast array of care and quality interventions where staff motivation is vital.
As nurse leaders how can we increase motivation? Well, an abundance of information can be found from the web, books, articles, motivational speakers and so on.
How you can motivate your team
- Show that you value your staff Small things can give others a sense of recognition, value and worth. If a member of staff asks to talk to you, give them time and, if you can’t do it right away, give them a time when you can, and stop and listen actively.
- Create a more motivating working environment Set aside time for professional development and training. A sense of enjoyment keeps everyone going when times are difficult. Occasions such as staff meetings away from the bedside can be a good time to inject a bit of fun.
- Recognise and reward staff when you see something good, however small Acknowledging staff for doing a good job can be a real boost. A simple “thank you” can be meaningful if you make eye contact.
- Show your own motivations and enthusiasm How you arrive at work, your facial expression and body language set the tone. Smile and greet staff positively. You can create a more uplifting atmosphere if staff feel you are motivated too.
I believe using some of the simple interventions on a regular basis can really lift morale and motivate.
It’s important to involve your staff in decisions - knowing their views, skills and knowledge are valued can really inspire your team.
Lead, delegate and trust your staff to do a good job and they are much more likely to be enthused to take their responsibilities seriously.
Watch out for workload increases and staff shortages. Your team will go the extra mile if they know you are trying to help but, if you do not acknowledge or act, enthusiasm will drop.
Finally, while everyone has a role to play in maintaining morale, staff do look to leaders and managers for that extra bit of support. When we feel under pressure it can be easy to forget the impact our responses can have.
Take time to do some of the small things to ensure staff keep going with the essential work of delivering the quality care we are all striving for.
Dr Theresa Shaw is chief executive of the Foundation of Nursing Studies (fons.org) and has extensive experience of enabling and supporting the development of nurses and practice in healthcare.