Appreciation – The Key to Retention

Retaining great talent is pivotal to any sterile processing department’s success; the work technicians do is critical to patient safety. Given this importance, a department really feels it when a good technician makes the decision to leave. So, why do technicians decide to leave?

That was one of the questions we asked in our recent 2022 Technician Survey: Why do technicians leave departments, aside from compensation?

Here’s how our respondents answered.

Bar graph depicting reasons sterile processing technicians leave departments. Lack of appreciation 36.89%, management style 21.31%, Painful/repetitive movement 15.57%, lac of upward mobility 13.11%, nature of work 6.56%, something else 6.56%


Lack of appreciation

One response blew the rest out of the water: lack of appreciation.

And why wouldn’t it? A basic human desire is to be appreciated for what you do, and in the case of sterile processing technicians, that’s a lot! Despite an instinctual urge to associate appreciation with compensation and benefits, there are plenty of other ways to show your team that what they do is appreciated.

  • Verbal appreciation – Seemingly obvious, verbal affirmations can be easily overlooked, especially when this skill may not come naturally to every manager. Sometimes a simple verbal affirmation, or a “job well-done”, can show a teammate that you see and appreciate their efforts.


  • Monthly’s’ – Creating an informal program that recognizes team members on a regular cadence is a great way to improve departmental morale and publicly recognize individuals. This can come in the form of something as simple as “Technician of the Month”, to something a bit more fun, like “Patient Safety Warrior”, of the month!


  • Events – Sometimes just getting the team together for a free lunch and some bonding time in the name of appreciation demonstrates that management is paying attention and wants to reward their team for all they do. Events offer a venue to get know each other and decompress with people who recognize the realities of working in central sterile.


Another key to retention? Leadership and management styles. Check out our blog post on reprocessing leadership to learn more: Reprocessing Department Leadership: How Can You Mobilize Your Teams for Success?


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