OK, we have a non-profit, state medical center. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that the workload is intense, the patients aren’t always smiling and polite, and the facility isn’t plush. I’ve worked in a hospital like that, and often the first thing I wanted to do when I came home was shower.
So, as noted in a staff post the other day, at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, someone had the stunningly stupid idea to give all 8,300 employees iPods Shuffles. OK, let’s think for a micro second – what could be wrong with this idea?
1. UCSF says that they paid only $70 for each iPod Shuffle, so this is not reportable to the IRS as compensation.
2. Since this is a nonprofit, and this is not an incidental reward (such as a turkey or ham at Christmas), there is also a question as to the use of tax-exempt assets for personal benefit. But, given the above, let’s give this a pass.
3. Some might view iPods as frivolous.
4. Since everyone got them, they lost any personal sense of appreciation. Heck, even the slackers got one, so why should I put forth any more effort?
The people who work at UCSF and similar hospitals could be making more money in cleaner, tidier surroundings. They’re not there for the money or prestige – they’re there because they really do have a passion and caring for what they do. Oh – and the nurses union is in the middle of negotiations. So the hospital spent a reported $581,000 on this gift. Timing is everything.
Want to give these folks something that will be meaningful? How about a tank of gas. Or a transit pass for a month. Or send an employee and their spouse/significant other out for a nice dinner and a show – or a show. It doesn’t have to be for everyone – part of the fun. Hold employee awards dinners – people may actually like them. Hold a picnic for staff and families, and have more than one to cover as many of the staff as possible.
You want to really show appreciation? Make a point of walking the halls, and thanking individual staff members. Personally deliver lunch to various units on a random basis – and on all shifts. Send personal letters of thanks to staff who were complimented by a patient, or who was seen doing out of the norm. Buy comfortable chairs and couches for the staff lounges.
Money only goes so far. What people want is for someone to care about them and their hard work. So say “thank you” to your staff today. And skip the iPod.
PS: have any shown up on E-bay?