Case Study: Staff Motivation and Sharp HealthCare

The case describes how the healthcare delivery system, Sharp HealthCare addresses its human resource management and keeps employees motivated. Sharp has elaborated six pillars of excellence that lie in the foundation of leadership, decision-making, and strategic planning. The three pillars are related to staff motivation and include quality, service, and people (employees’ satisfaction and retention).

Moreover, Sharp has introduced scripts and model behaviors for staff. The healthcare provider also exploits various instruments to collect employee feedback, remunerate the best performers, and engage the team (employee forums and surveys). This paper examines the critical success factors of Sharp’s motivation strategy as well as underlines the gaps, and assesses barriers and facilitators of the approach.

Sharp’s Key Success Factors in Employees Motivation

Overall, Sharp’s employee motivation strategy appears to be quite comprehensive and practical. The organization has set principles and standards of work through pillars and scripts according to which the performance is estimated. One of the key factors that determine Sharp’s success is its individual approach to staff motivation. Communicating with each employee might seem time-consuming. However, in the healthcare system, this is one of the fundamental managerial practices that ensure intrinsic motivation and engagement of physicians and nurses (Burns et al., 2019). Thus, personal communication with managers prevents potential dissatisfaction and helps to identify the lack of specific resources that could improve an employee’s performance

Moreover, Sharp rightfully appeals to the feedback collection as a tool to set goals and plan future strategy development. Surveys are proven to be an effective instrument that allows recognizing issues in a team early. Sharp’s action plan addresses these problematic areas making staff feel heard and involved in the decision-making process. Besides, the employee forums favorably affect the transparency of the organizational culture and support cross-department communication keeping everyone informed and updated.

Finally, Sharp definitely benefits from its engaging planning policy. Collaborative goal setting, as opposed to the top-down one, attributes to a conducive work environment, increasing alignment and boosting motivation (Burns et al., 2019). This also contributes to employees empowerment and makes staff take on more responsibility as they are involved in the process. The learning platform here complements the effect by covering potential gaps of skills that may be needed to achieve a particular goal. Of course, the very fact of the availability of an educational service deserves a separate mention since it in itself can serve as a motivation for employees to retain longer in Sharp.

Weaknesses in Sharp’s Approach

Nonetheless, there are several areas for improvement in Sharp’s approach to motivation. First of all, dividing employees into “great,” “good,” and “low” performance might signal a poor understanding of what motivation is and how it is expressed. In some cases, underperformance indicates not a lack of employee interest but a lack of time, human or material resources (Burns et al., 2019). This can hinder the work of staff, and in the future lead to a decrease in motivation. Therefore, the correct construction of individual communication should identify the root causes of poor performance.

Furthermore, in health care, even greater emphasis should be placed on intrinsic motivation. For example, it might be worth considering giving doctors more autonomy. It has been proven that decentralized team management provides a place for personal responsibility and proactivity (Swarna, 2016).

Doctors are reported to be more motivated and tackle more projects when given empowerment and a certain autonomy. It is worth carefully considering the workload regarding nurses as this profession is prone to burnout and loss of interest in work. Ensuring timely task altering through job re-design practice deals with those challenges and anticipate decreasing motivation (Burns et al., 2019). Thus, Sharp underestimates this aspect of human resource management, although nurses usually make up most of the medical staff.

In addition, overall organizational climate is another crucial factor influencing motivation and engagement yet it is not paid attention to in Sharp’s approach. Interpersonal relations, team alignment, and a friendly environment are highly valued when considering healthcare. The staff’s psychological state and mood directly affect the service and the quality of communication with patients (Kjellström et al., 2017). In this way, the organization can take these factors into account and improve its motivation strategy by contemplating teamwork and transformative leadership and empowering employees.

Replicability of Sharp’s Approach: Barriers and Facilitators

In general, Sharp’s approach to employee motivation looks quite universal. It consists of several pillars:

  1. Setting standards and giving guidelines;
  2. Collecting and providing back individual and team feedback;
  3. Setting goals collectively.

These directions can be practically adopted in other health care institutions and supplemented by specific needs and organizational peculiarities. Sharp’s approach is characterized by its basicity, comprehensibility, and use of the basic principles of intrinsic motivation. Some barriers might, however, arise when coming to an organizational structure. In Sharp’s case, managers are responsible for maintaining personal relationships with employees, revising their feedback, reporting performance results, and goal-setting. All of these activities might turn out to be more overwhelming if the organization has larger departments or a complex structure.


Burns, L., Bradley, E., & Weiner, B. (2019). Motivating people. In Shortell & Kaluzny’s health care management: Organization design and behavior (7th ed., pp. 82–95). Cengage Learning.

Kjellström, S., Avby, G., Areskoug-Josefsson, K., Andersson Gäre, B., & Andersson Bäck, M. (2017). Work motivation among healthcare professionals. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 31(4), 487–502. Web.

Swarna N. Y. (2016). Intrinsic motivation: the case for healthcare systems in Malaysia and globally. Human Resource Development International, 20(1), 68–78. Web.

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