A Winning Combination


Celebrating individual successes is key to organizational success.

By C. Jason Richardson, DPT, OCS, COMT

As a practice grows, one of the hardest things to maintain is a culture that celebrates the wins. Adding therapists, support staff, and billing personnel makes it infinitely harder as a practice owner or manager to remain in tune to everyone’s impact on their areas of responsibility. This growth also increases the degrees of separation, which further dilutes our abilities to recognize staff for excellent work that fuels a private practice’s successes.

With growth, it is imperative for organizations to understand the psychology of praising staff for their great work and creating an employee recognition program. Making a conscious effort to foster a culture of recognition and create an infrastructure that celebrates the wins and publically acknowledges those who go above and beyond for our patients and teammates will yield massive value on investment.

The cost benefit ratio of a recognition process is significant and according to a large-scale meta-analysis conducted by the Gallup Organization the measurable benefits included:

  • Increased individual productivity (recognition of desired behavior facilitated repetition of the behavior)1
  • Enhanced employee satisfaction and sense of team1
  • Yielded higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers/patients (in a service industry you cannot have unhappy employees interface with your customers)1
  • Higher retention of staff1
  • Less absenteeism/presenteeism1

Recognition programs are different from annual compensation programs and incentive schemes that are largely based on tenure and/or an employee achieving some level of productivity. Those structured pay-related programs stimulate external motivations and are often viewed as entitlements. Spontaneous recognition and praise stimulate one’s internal motivation and personal need for collegial appreciation for one’s efforts. This internal motive is often more powerful (than external motives) and yields an increased level of job engagement and satisfaction with their employer.

Effective recognition largely falls on the shoulders of management and clinic mentors and should acknowledge the employee’s contributions immediately. Appropriately recognizing staff should be considered an important skill and part of an overall performance management approach, which reinforces desired behaviors that align with an organization’s values and mission. The challenge with recognition is that those in management must be receptive to opportunities to give praise.

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Essentially two types of recognition exist: formal and informal. Formal recognition typically involves a structured process for an employee to nominate a coworker, which triggers a manager to publically recognize the individual.2 Informal recognition tends to be more spontaneous and occurs as a result of a colleague or manager directly observing the behavior.

In summary, practice owners and managers must recognize the importance of celebrating organizational successes. Those individuals who perform well and facilitate the principles that guide the organization day to day must be recognized. Their behaviors, attitudes, and role execution should be appreciated, and part of the company mission. Collectively, when this is executed consistently and appropriately, the outcome will be greater than the sum of the parts. 


1. Tom Rath & Donald O. Clifton. How Full Is Your Bucket? Gallup Press, August 2004.

2. The Human Capital Institute. The Value and ROI in Employee Recognition: Linking Recognition to Improved Job Performance & Increased Business Value. 2009.

C. Jason Richardson, DPT, OCS, COMT, is vice president of regulatory and business affairs at Results Physiotherapy. He can be reached at jasonr@resultsphysiotherapy.com.

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