Healthcare attracts highly motivated, dedicated personnel, on both the clinical and operational sides. And while those character traits undoubtedly contribute to a healthy practice, they can lead individuals down the road to burnout – to the point where they can't continue in their current role.
"If employees leave a company, there's a cost to advertise and recruit. Providers lose out every single day there's an empty position," said Tricia Pattee, product director with HEALTHeCAREERS, an online resource for both recruitment and job searches within the healthcare industry.
Pattee shared her perspective on how employers can help prevent their staff from experiencing burnout.
Getting employees back on track involves additional training, help motivating and encouraging them, reward programs and incentive plans, she said.
"Is there a cost associated with these outside endeavors to boost morale? Yes. But they're worth it when people's passion for the company they work for is rejuvenated and reinvigorated. Being happy and engaged at work boosts productivity," Pattee explained.
According to Pattee, there are seven different ways in which employers can help their staff succeed, feel a personal investment within the organization and stay healthy.
1. Take an active role
It's important for both management and human resources to take an active role in an employee's life to ensure that burnout doesn't occur and significant turnover doesn't happen. They should know an employee's concerns as opposed to letting them develop, fester and potentially blow up when an employee leaves.
2. Social engagement
Organizations should encourage their employees to work with multiple departments if possible, and offer/coordinate group programs that allow interaction with people outside of their team. Peer programs, mentoring and company outings support morale and mental wellness. "Creating luncheons where employees from various departments can collaborate on or develop different ideas and feedback is a great example," said Pattee.
3. Take breaks
Employers need to encourage breaks so that their staff doesn't overwork themselves to the point of burnout. Breaks force employees to walk away from stress.
4. Encourage healthy habits
Health-focused programs like recipes in newsletters (to which employees can contribute), sponsoring workout classes, etc., encourages the important balance of physical and personal well-being.
5. Continued learning program
Companies should promote/encourage ongoing learning and different educational situations. This allows employees to feel confident and in control of their careers. Personal development is another often overlooked arena of health and wellness.
6. Vacation time
Make sure people are taking their vacation time. It's necessary because it promotes a healthy work-life balance. Staff members need to feel valuable to the company at which they work, and rewards like time off are good thing.
7. Small-budget gatherings
It isn't necessary to always put on big productions for your employees. Small gatherings, like potlucks, are just as effective. It's a couple hours of their day they get to relax and be social. It doesn't cost the company anything, except time, which balances out in the end if it increases the employee's longevity.