3 small changes promise big impact in motivating your LTC staff (LTL mag online)

Posted by Dr. El - January 28, 2013 - Business Strategies, Long-Term Living Magazine, Motivating staff - 4 Comments

Here’s my latest article in Long-Term Living magazine online:

 Doctor in shock

3 small changes promise big impact in motivating your LTC staff

The new year has just begun and even without an official resolution, January holds the promise of a fresh start. This could be the year to address perennial problems plaguing your organization. It can be a challenge, though, to know where to begin on the mountain of tasks needing attention. Perhaps you have neither the time nor the budget for major changes. The good news is that psychological research suggests small goals tend to be more successful than great ambitions. With that in mind, make use of the new year’s momentum by making minor adjustments in three areas for a big impact: appreciation, repair and organization.


Studies show that long-term care staff members aren’t in it for the money. Because workers tend to be more motivated by recognition of their efforts than by remuneration, showing appreciation will reap great rewards.

  • Start small by simply thanking the people around you for their efforts. Recognize triumphs, commitment to the team and attempts even if they don’t result in success. As leaders within the organization, your attention to appreciation can create a ripple effect as others model their behavior after you and start thanking their coworkers and subordinates.
  • Make it a habit to recognize one person, unit or action in each morning report or department head meeting. By calling attention to positive behaviors, you provide a roadmap for your employees or coworkers regarding the kind of work you’d like to see.  Ask coworkers to “tell on” their peers, and vary who receives acknowledgement so that the unsung heroes shine as much as the obvious go-getters. Use this powerful tool, for example, if you sense a new employee might be feeling anxious, commending their work in front of colleagues to generate a feeling of inclusion and welcome.
  • Take appreciation a step further by establishing an official recognition program such as “Employee of the Month.” Rewards can be as simple as a good parking spot, a plaque on the wall or a gift certificate to a local restaurant.


In any establishment there are things that break down. The New York City subway system, for example, is over 100 years old and in constant need of repair. The Metropolitan Transit Authority moves station to station with complete renovations that transform the location from dingy and crumbling to bright and freshly tiled. A recent sign in a subway car, however, announced a change in its repair program: instead of complete overhauls while most stations languished in disrepair, they’d now be attending to the most urgent needs of all stations. If the MTA can use this triage approach, so can long-term care.


For more, visit LTL mag online: 3 small changes promise big impact in motivating your LTC staff