Why the words 'thank you' lead to greater rewards

ICD-10 conversion got your team down? Try showing gratitude for all the work they've done preparing for implementation and working through any hiccups in switching to the new medical coding system.

Whether they've been part of a complex, all-hands process like ICD-10 implementation or someone made a good clinical catch in the emergency room, people respond positively to genuine praise. Healthcare workers who know they're appreciated are happier, more optimistic, healthier and more productive, according to an article at Becker's Hospital Review.

"The best companies use gratitude to encourage everyone to give their best work," Nancy Schlichting, CEO of Henry Ford Health System, said in the article. Too many leaders "only focus on the bad," failing to understand that people need recognition both individually and as a team, according to Schlichting.

Leaders who show appreciation help build morale, which improves retention and recruiting, and reduces absenteeism, psychologist Randy Kamen said in the article. To show her appreciation for an employee's work, Schlichting will call, email or send the staff member a note with her thanks. Other ways to demonstrate appreciation are via individual and team awards presented during annual meetings with the board of trustees. This ensures that the organization's top leaders express their appreciation for people's hard work, the article noted.

Recognizing employees also helps improve employee engagement by showing employees that their organization appreciates and values them. Engaged employees make "discretionary efforts" such as interacting on a human level with patients and their families and going the extra mile to help, thus improving patient engagement.

Expressing gratitude is part of the hidden curriculum for medical residents and students at some teaching hospitals, FierceHealthcare previously reported. Teaching teams how to be respectful and considerate helps doctors, nurses and other caregivers feel valued and respected, which in turn helps them put the patient first, said Gary S. Kaplan, M.D., president and CEO at Virginia Mason Medical School in Seattle.

For more:
- read the Becker's article