A raise is always a nice way of recognizing a nurse practitioner who is going above and beyond in their practice. Contrary to popular belief, however, even when you are paying an NP a salary that’s more than the regional average or are offering performance based bonuses, money is not an effective way to motivate or boost job satisfaction amongst your providers.
In fact, in a classic study conducted by Frederick Herzberg in 1968 and revalidated in 2003 by Harvard Business Review, factors that produce job satisfaction are actually separate and distinct from those that lead to job dissatisfaction; intrinsic motivation, or our internal psychological desire to achieve things, have a more substantial and predictable effect on motivation than extrinsic motivators like cash and material goods. The study found that while a lack of money is a de-motivator for employees, money is not a motivator. So while you shouldn’t underpay your NPs or cease offering a performance based bonus as part of your compensation plan, you do need to offer non-monetary incentives if you want your providers to continue being motivated on the job.
Here are five non-monetary ways to motivate the nurse practitioners at your facility.
Advanced practice providers generally enter into the NP profession with a desire to practice with more autonomy. While initially new grad NPs do need more supervision and guidance than a more experienced provider, as they mature in their practice, it’s imperative that you begin to offer them more opportunities to have control and autonomy. Don’t constantly hover over experienced NPs either; allow them to have the autonomy they’ve earned through their education and other clinical experiences. The vast majority of employees, especially advanced practice providers, do not operate well under micromanagement.
Today’s workforce craves work-life-balance; employees need to feel that their personal lives matter too. Offering your NPs a flexible work schedule has been proven to lead to much stronger job satisfaction; it produces less absenteeism and turnover, higher levels of productivity and better engagement. A flexible schedule ties into giving NPs more control over both their practice and their lives outside of work. It shows that you respect them and trust them to do a job well done when they’re at work, for which they will return with their performance outcomes.
Sing praises publically
Healthcare (and specifically nursing) is often a thankless profession. A simple “thank you” during a team meeting or a verbal acknowledgement of an accomplishment is often enough for an NP to feel like they’re valued by their employer. This will not only motivate them, but their colleagues as well, and they’ll want to continue providing exceptional care and exceeding your performance expectations.
Share patient successes and compliments
By the same token, if you receive a thank you or any type of compliment from a patient, or if there is a patient success story, share it with your team during your staff meetings and give specific recognition; this will collectively motivate your entire staff and encourage your NP leaders to keep pushing forward as well as direct their focuses on the positive, especially as many patients only give grievances.
Incorporate a people-oriented style of leadership
As the superior at your facility, ensuring your nurse practitioners are being productive and working efficiently is one of your primary responsibilities; however, if your leadership style is too task-oriented, your employees and providers may feel that you only care about the overall success of the facility and not the people behind it. They’ll feel underappreciated and in turn become unmotivated and burnt out. Evaluate your leadership style and if you lean towards being more task-focused, begin incorporating more people-oriented styles; start by getting to know your NPs on a more personal level through one-on-ones and team building events. When you show a genuine interest in your providers outside of the realm of work, they’ll actually want to come to work and be productive.
Involve NPs in the incentive process
Don’t be so disconnected from your advancd practice providers that you fail to understand what their motivational sweet spots are. Frequently keep in touch with them to see what’s working and what’s not. It can be helpful to ask them what kinds of rewards they’d like to receive if you’re not sure what will motivate them. You can do this through surveys, brainstorming sessions during meetings or employee reviews or with an anonymous suggestion box. This communicates to your nurse practitioners that you value their contribution to your organization and care about their well-being in the workplace.
Monetary rewards are a nice incentive, but they only go so far in motivating your providers. When you pay a competitive salary but also give your NPs and other healthcare employees other motivational factors to continue working hard for your facility, you’ll create a positive work environment wherein your staff strives to do an exceptional job for you and the patients they serve.