Case Study: Healthcare System’s Employee Recognition Program Helps Increase Employee Engagement by 9%

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After Implementing Terryberry's 360 Recognition Platform, Engagement Among Leaders and Employees Improved

I’m a firm believer if you have a good employee recognition program, it can help drive overall employee engagement - Jeremy Stephens, Associate VP of Human Resources Operations, Tidelands Health.

Tidelands Health is the largest health care provider in coastal South Carolina, with four hospitals and 60+ outpatient locations. Tidelands Health has more than 2,500 employee, physician, and volunteer partners working to promote wellness, prevent illness, encourage recovery, and restore health.

The health system wanted to increase employee engagement by giving meaningful recognition to its employee partners. “I’m a firm believer if you have a good employee recognition program, it can help drive overall employee engagement,” says Jeremy Stephens, Associate VP of Human Resources Operations, Tidelands Health.

Tidelands Health had been reliant on gift cards for recognition. New IRS guidelines meant the health system needed to change direction. “When you have a culture that wants to do a lot of on-the-spot type recognition, we knew we had to do something different,” said Stephens.

From a focus group of employees, Tidelands Health learned that employees valued recognition gifts that were branded with the health system’s logo.

The HR team evaluated giving a one-time recognition gift to all employees. The cost and administrative burden added up quickly, according to Stephens. Leaders soon realized that their budget and the impact on employees could go farther with an ongoing platform for recognition. “We could use that budget in a much more meaningful way to help us drive our engagement numbers and would really be a beneficial mechanism going forward,” Stephens said.

Tidelands Health implemented Terryberry’s 360 Recognition Platform throughout the health system in order to provide employees with an ongoing recognition experience.

Tidelands Health implemented four modules of the 360 Recognition Platform: Service Awards, AwardPoints, Award Your Team (manager-driven recognition) and Give a WOW (social recognition). Using these tools, Tidelands Health was able to consolidate many of its recognition initiatives into the 360 Recognition Platform. Service awards, performance incentives, and nursing awards, which had previously been issued in the form of taxable bonuses, were converted to the AwardPoints program. Tidelands Health also began using AwardPoints to drive participation in wellness activities.

Employee engagement increased. Leadership recognition gained support throughout the organization. Recognition moments were tied to their core values.

Tidelands Health saw an increase overall in employee engagement. Year-over-year, the health system’s overall engagement increased by nearly 10%. Tidelands Health saw a particularly dramatic increase in engagement levels for evening and night shift staff. Stephens attributes this increase in part to the notes of appreciation that day shift staff regularly post on the Recognition Wall for their night shift counterparts.

Leader engagement also increased 2 index points since implementing the 360 Recognition Platform. Says Stephens, “Our leaders really appreciate having a tool to recognize our employees.” Stephens recounts how the CEO regularly gives points when Team Tidelands has gone above and beyond, like when the hurricanes came through their region recently or COVID19-related contributions. Active involvement from the highest levels of the organization makes a tremendous impact.

Stephens also highlights the value of having recognition moments tied to the core values that are important to Tidelands Health. “It helps people understand why we do what we do.”

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Jenny Watkins
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