By Mark Herbert

Digital transformation is a constant in the HTM sector, and for a good reason: the latest and greatest in technology on the front line means a greater ability to save lives. While technology is most often written as the “hero” of the story, HTM department leaders know that its success is truly measured by how well it serves its hospital staff and patients. 

With the onset of a global pandemic, rapid policy changes and strict social distancing pose a threat to both hospital order and human connection. At a time when teamwork and collaboration are more important than ever, accelerated digitalization has the opportunity to, yet again, save the day. This time, however, as part of an employee incentive program.

Incentive Technology as Part of an Effective Employee Management Strategy

When it comes to streamlining HTM processes with the help of technology, an employee incentive program may not be the first association that springs to mind. At a time of rapid change and high stakes, enabling a reward program can seem trivial. The reality is that employee recognition programs provide much more than the occasional gift card or “employee of the month” certificate; they have the potential to be digitally integrated systems working as part of an overall employee management strategy.

Today’s employee recognition programs are software-driven, offering an online platform to provide digitally connected, omnichannel experiences that help deliver information and build team morale. Whether your goal is to boost employee engagement, decrease turnover, accelerate employee development, or maintain an informed, unified front in a time of necessity, HTM department leaders can utilize incentive technology as an integral element of a modern employee engagement strategy.

Fostering Engagement with a Culture of Rewards

Life—both inside and outside the hospital—moves quickly. And modern workers absorb information digitally and on the go, whenever the moment permits. While team building and employee growth can still occur on the job, today’s employee incentive programs must utilize digital communication tools to guarantee structured, effective connection and developmental growth that fits the digital lifestyle.

Motivation and engagement are key factors in building a cohesive HTM department. With an employee reward and recognition program, healthcare technology managers can expect:

  • An integrated digital hub for management to post the latest in policies and procedures while reinforcing team values
  • A fully automated communication system delivering everything from urgent updates to birthday and anniversary recognitions through options including email, SMS, and push notifications
  • An education-based platform enhanced with elements of gamification to increase engagement, encourage continuous learning, or provide feedback on their daily work environment in the form of surveys
  • An interactive social media wall for employees to celebrate moments of collaboration, encouraging a positive and uplifting company culture
  • Streamlined administrative tools and reporting dashboards to allow HTM leaders to easily manage employee progress as well as the overall program

Arguably the greatest element of an employee recognition program is its reciprocal nature. These platforms exist in a space where employees have the opportunity to earn rewards. This gives employees a higher inclination to engage with the program as it inspires feelings of purpose, value, and loyalty—all of which contribute to a happier, more productive workplace. 

Leveraging Technology for Enhanced Communication

Technology has completely transformed the way our world interacts and forms connections. In an employee incentive program, frequent communication is the key to maintaining engagement. With the help of automation, HTM department leaders can rely on technology to maintain a high frequency of communication while focusing on the more pressing tasks at hand. 

With the help of pre-scheduled emails and triggered SMS capabilities, incentive program software allows for ease and efficiency in communication, fostering an environment of connection and gratitude without sacrificing precious man-hours. With the option of a customized incentive mobile app, employees can easily participate in program activity, receiving push notifications and redeeming rewards right from their phones.

Furthermore, certain employee incentive program providers offer additional communication assistance with fully customizable communication packages that fit the needs and scope of your employee program.

Inspiring Social Connection for Better Team-Building

Incentive software providers have picked up on the popularity of social media, allowing employees in a fast-paced setting to plug into a virtual team-building environment on their own time. Implementing a weekly or monthly reward encourages employees to highlight the behaviors of their colleagues on an interactive, social media-inspired wall. With the ability to like, comment, and share, your program provides another level of collaboration and fun while encouraging accountability and team values. 

Turn your interactive social platform into a complete recognition suite by inserting an online referral form for ease in hiring, as well as a section for employees to submit feedback and suggestions. This feedback can go a long way in maintaining an employee program that speaks directly to your target audience.

Using Gamification to Foster Continuous Learning 

Whether the need is to complete onboarding training for new hires or promote skill-set expansion and adherence to update policies and protocol, growth is a necessary part of the employee journey. Incentive technology allows for training implementation all in one convenient place, providing progress reports to HTM department leaders to make sure deadlines are met.

The good news: just because it is necessary, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! With the use of gamification elements, such as trivia, spin to wins, or an employee leaderboard, HTM leaders can set a high bar for their team while also setting the tone for a more engaging and interactive employee experience. Harnessing the power of competition not only ensures that training is completed, but also encourages accountable behavior as rewarding employees for staying on top of their administrative work is an effective incentive.

Integration services allow for employee recognition platforms to be easily incorporated into existing employee portals so teammates aren’t inundated with multiple log-in credentials and URLs. The easier it is for a program to be accessed, the higher the likelihood that staff will engage.

Enhancing the Administrative Experience

When it comes to implementing an employee management system, one of the more important considerations is the platform’s ease of use from an administrative standpoint. At the end of the day, if an HTM department leader can’t get past complicated operational procedures, or simply does not have time in their daily schedule to keep up with necessary maintenance, then ultimately the program will fail to be effective.

With the right incentive program provider, a combination of cloud-based, modular software and support from experienced account managers guarantees a more streamlined administrative process. Programs can be launched in as little as eight weeks, and according to a recent survey of our clients, more than 70% spent less than two hours a week performing administrative responsibility for their incentive program. If this level of maintenance is too extensive, certain program providers offer incentive specialists to help manage the program on your behalf.

Maintaining a Competitive Employee Culture

The math is simple: happy employees are more productive employees. In a setting where patients take center stage, it is important for HTM department leaders to invest in the employees that make this possible. For employees who are disconnected from their team and at risk of being overworked, an employee incentive strategy is the best way to foster an environment of achievement and recognition while showing employees gratitude for their daily efforts. With the help of incentive technology, HTM department leaders can sustain a competitive employee culture with ease. 

Mark Herbert is president and CEO of Incentive Solutions. Questions and comments can be directed to 24×7 Magazine chief editor Keri Forsythe-Stephens at [email protected]