’We pledge to improve the health of our entire community’: Improving health worker motivation and performance in Bihar, India through teamwork, recognition, and non-financial incentives

Carolyn Grant, Dipty Nawal, Sai Mala Guntur, Manish Kumar, Indrajit Chaudhuri, Christine Galavotti, Tanmay Mahapatra, Kunal Ranjan, Gangesh Kumar, Sunil Mohanty, Mohammed Aftab Alam, Aritra Das, Safia Jiwani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background Motivation is critical to health worker performance and work quality. In Bihar, India, frontline health workers provide essential health services for the state’s poorest citizens. Yet, there is a shortfall of motivated and skilled providers and a lack of coordination between two cadres of frontline health workers and their supervisors. CARE India developed an approach aimed at improving health workers’ performance by shifting work culture and strengthening teamwork and motivation. The intervention—“Team-Based Goals and Incentives”—supported health workers to work as teams towards collective goals and rewarded success with public recognition and non-financial incentives. Methods Thirty months after initiating the intervention, 885 health workers and 98 supervisors completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire in 38 intervention and 38 control health sub-centers in one district. The questionnaire included measures of social cohesion, teamwork attitudes, self-efficacy, job satisfaction, teamwork behaviors, equitable service delivery, taking initiative, and supervisory support. We conducted bivariate analyses to examine the impact of the intervention on these psychosocial and behavioral outcomes. Results Results show statistically significant differences across several measures between intervention and control frontline health workers, including improved teamwork (mean = 8.8 vs. 7.3), empowerment (8.5 vs. 7.4), job satisfaction (7.1 vs. 5.99) and equitable service delivery (6.7 vs. 4.99). While fewer significant differences were found for supervisors, they reported improved teamwork (8.4 vs. 5.3), and frontline health workers reported improved fulfillment of supervisory duties by their supervisors (8.9 vs. 7.6). Both frontline health workers and supervisors found public recognition and enhanced teamwork more motivating than the non-financial incentives. Conclusions The Team-Based Goals and Incentives model reinforces intrinsic motivation and supports improvements in the teamwork, motivation, and performance of health workers. It offers an approach to practitioners and governments for improving the work environment in a resource-constrained setting and where there are multiple cadres of health workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0203265
JournalPloS one
Volume13
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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    Grant, C., Nawal, D., Guntur, S. M., Kumar, M., Chaudhuri, I., Galavotti, C., Mahapatra, T., Ranjan, K., Kumar, G., Mohanty, S., Alam, M. A., Das, A., & Jiwani, S. (2018). ’We pledge to improve the health of our entire community’: Improving health worker motivation and performance in Bihar, India through teamwork, recognition, and non-financial incentives. PloS one, 13(8), [e0203265]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0203265