25 Ways to Recognize Environmental
Services and Housekeeping Staff

Environmental services and housekeeping staff make vital contributions to healthcare. No facility would be able to operate without them. Take time to celebrate and honor your valued personnel because recognition and appreciation lead to improved job performance and morale. Use these 25 fun, creative ideas for inspiration. Then, start planning your celebrations!

1. Daily Hall Of Fame
Give environmental services staff members the focused attention they deserve. Celebrate a different employee each day by declaring that day “Beth Jones Day” or whatever the person’s name might be. Announce his or her name on the P.A. system and provide some information or a story about the person’s background and personality. Present the selected staff member with a special recognition gift.
2. Fact Or Fiction?
“Two Truths and a Lie” is a popular game to play with your employees. In this activity, staff members turn in three statements about themselves. Two of the statements are true; one is made up. Organize this game for your staff by printing up the submissions and distributing them. Have everyone try to pick out the untrue statement about each person. Give an award to the employee who identifies the highest number of false statements.
3. Bright Ideas
Ask your housekeepers for suggestions on how to improve your facility. Employees who are involved in workplace decisions are more dedicated to the success of the facility. Create forms on which to write suggestions, and set up a “Suggestions Box” to put them in. Make sure suggestion contributors write their names on the forms so you can reward them for offering their input. Present a housekeeping gift to each person who submits a thoughtful suggestion.
4. Winning Ways
Every employee can be a winner if you create customized award categories. Pick the Most Dependable, Hardest Working, Most Helpful, Least Likely to Call in Sick, and other traits that fit your EVS and housekeeping staff members. Don’t leave anyone out. Announce the winners at an event held in the style of an awards show. As each employee steps up to give a short acceptance speech, reward him or her with a congratulatory gift.
5. Pat On The Back
Since you can’t be everywhere at once, sometimes your employees will witness their coworkers’ good deeds when you are busy elsewhere. Help your staff recognize fellow workers’ excellent efforts. Set out baskets labeled “Our Success Is Because of You” and “Going Beyond Expectations” with pens and pieces of paper nearby. Have staff write down words of appreciation for their coworkers or what they did to go above and beyond, and then put the slips of paper in the baskets.
6. Timed Test
Organize a game for your staff called “Can You Find 10 Things Wrong with This Room?” Purposely set up one patient room incorrectly. Then, test each housekeeper individually. Time him or her, seeing how long it takes to find the errors. Present a token of appreciation to the participants with the best times.
7. Showcasing Talent
Hold an art/hobby exhibition to highlight the skills and interests of your employees. Ask all EVS and housekeeping staff to submit their own drawings, photographs, needlework, or other arts and crafts. Display the items in the lobby, in a community room, or another common area of your facility. Honor exhibitors at a cookies-and-punch reception.
8. Green Is Good
Keep reusing and recycling in mind when organizing a “green” appreciation luncheon for your staff. Buy old candles and interesting glass jars at secondhand stores. Melt down the candles in a double boiler, pour them into the jars with new wicks, and let them harden. Have these as centerpieces at the luncheon. Use plates and silverware made out of recycled or compostable materials. Lay out fabric tablecloths instead of disposable ones. Thank your luncheon guests with “green” gifts.
9. All Together Now
Emphasize the importance of being team players by declaring a special day of the week as “Team Tuesday” or “Work Together Wednesday.” Adorn your facility with sports-themed decorations. Invite everyone to wear sports team apparel, and arrange for a sports coach to give your employees a pep talk on teamwork. Serve snacks that would be found at a Super Bowl party.
10. The Power of Words
Combine brain-boosting puzzles with housekeeping to improve the mental fitness of your staff. Create crosswords and word searches using words related to cleaning, such as “polish” and “vacuum.” Try a free website, such as www.puzzle-maker.com, that forms puzzles with the words you enter. Distribute copies of your puzzles to housekeepers. When your employees turn in correctly completed puzzles, offer them a small gift.
11. Fruitful Event
A healthy snack can be a great energy-booster. With this in mind, provide your EVS and housekeeping staff with fruit for a mid-morning pick-me-up. Pick a category of fruit per day, such as citrus or berries, or choose a single color of fruit as your theme. Serve up coffee and tea in mugs that employees can keep.
12. Saluting Service
Promote loyalty by celebrating employment anniversaries. Hold a ceremony for your environmental services staff and invite people from other departments to attend. Award pins for one, five, 10, 15, and 20 years of service. Add a special touch to the recognition by doing something unique in honor of each person. For example, plant a tree at your facility, make a donation to the local food bank, or name a room after the honoree. Announce these unusual “gifts” at the ceremony.
13. Priceless Performances
Look for hidden talent within your own facility to provide entertainment at your National Healthcare Housekeeping Week recognition event. Find staff members from other departments who like to sing, play the piano, tell jokes, etc., and encourage them to perform for your housekeeping staff at a special event.
14. Pledging Their Commitment
Remind your employees that your organization cherishes a commitment to excellence. Write a “Committed to Excellence” pledge on poster board and have employees sign their names on it at the beginning of your recognition week. Throughout the week, when you see an individual performing with excellence, recognize him or her with a small token of appreciation.
15. Hide And Seek
Turn gift-receiving into an adventure! Fill gift baskets for your staff members, and then hide the baskets individually. Write a different set of clues for each person, and leave the clues around your facility. Send employees off on a “mission” to follow the clues and find their rewards.
16. Blast From The Past
Send your housekeeping department back in time. Ask to borrow old magazines, kitchenware, lunch boxes, toys, etc., from employees in other areas of the facility. Display the memorabilia around the break room. Have your housekeepers bring in old pictures of themselves or old photo IDs. Hold a dress-up day at which participants wear clothes from their high school eras. Distribute small presents to those who join in on the fun.
17. Essential Ingredients
Because teamwork is essential to the success of your facility, ask your environmental services staff members to share their thoughts on what a good team needs. Request that they submit “Recipes for an Outstanding Team.” For example, a recipe might include a cup of reliability, a tablespoon of excellence, and a pinch of humor. Another recipe might mention three cups of energy, two teaspoons of honesty, and a dash of thoughtfulness. Discuss with your employees the recipes they develop and thank each one for his or her contributions.
18. Memory Challenge
Ask your housekeepers to bring in photos of their pets, vacations, and weddings. Create an attractive bulletin board display using the photos. Call everyone’s attention to the display, and then leave it up all week. At the end of the week, gather your housekeepers and quiz them on the photos, for example “Who is pictured in a pink bridesmaid dress?” or “What breed of dog is wearing a plaid sweater?” Present a gift to the person with the most correct answers.
19. Nice Notes
Sometimes praise from coworkers means just as much, if not more, than praise from management. Encourage housekeepers to use notepads to write positive notes to other employees. They can leave notes on recipients’ carts or hand them over in person.
20. Fabulous Food
Send out a food survey to each environmental services worker. On it, have him or her choose favorite entrees, desserts, and beverages. Hold a luncheon with the favorite foods served. While your workers eat, talk to them about their favorite foods growing up, meals they like to prepare, and what they like to eat when dining out.
21. Top Team
Thank everyone for contributing to the success of your team by holding a special breakfast. Title this event the “Breakfast of Champions.” Ahead of time, give out invitations which tell your employees to wear their athletic shoes and to dress in their favorite team attire. Serve Wheaties, low-fat milk, and fruit and orange juice for breakfast. Congratulate everyone for a “Gold Medal” year.
22. Chocolate Extravaganza
Because your housekeepers are so sweet to patients and residents, reward them with a chocolate snack break. One afternoon, offer several different kinds of chocolate cake. Hide an M&M'S® candy in the frosting or filling of one cake piece. Present a gift certificate to whoever finds the M&M'S® candy. If your facility has more than one shift, repeat the activity for each one.
23. An Apple A Day...
Let your workers know how much they mean to you. Write out notes that read “You are the apple of our eye” and put the note and an apple inside a bag. Leave the bags in the break room and mark each one with an employee’s name. Add to the effect by creating an apple-themed bulletin board with the same message as the notes. Gather everyone for a group photo, then display the photo on the bulletin board.
24. Thanks A Million
Make everyone at your facility aware of the special recognition due to environmental services employees. Hang Environmental Services banners in prominent places. Then, compose a list of reasons you are thankful for your employees, such as “Thank you for your attention to detail”, “Thank you for your positive attitude”, and “Thank you for your warm smile”. Present the list with a gift to each EVS employee.
25. Daily Drawing
Use two-part raffle tickets to pick a prize winner every day during your recognition week. Distribute the tickets Monday morning to your staff members. Place gifts, such as Mugs and Water Bottles, in a pillowcase. At the end of each day, draw a raffle ticket. Have the lucky ticket holder reach into the pillowcase without looking and pull out a prize.