Are your staff exhausted and burnt out from working additional hours to cover illness due to Covid and the flu? Are you finding your staff are primary carers and need even more time off to care for family? Are clinic templates continually changing due to reschedules from patients for the same reason? Staff shortages are also compounding burn out with unemployment at the lowest it has been for many years.
Georgi Toma from Heart and Brains Works presented a webinar on "How to Help Your Staff Reset." I have adapted her recommendations to suit small healthcare practices. Your goal is for happy employees. Her research showed if staff are engaged and have high mental health well-being these factors produce the happiest employees.
Most healthcare practices are small, with a high proportion of female employees. Resources are limited, with existing staff needing to increase their hours to cover the workload.
Tip #1 - what should I do?
Conduct a Well-being Survey - Get a free template from the internet. Ensure your final question asks, “Is there anything we can do to improve employee wellness?”
This shows concern for your employees BUT you must be committed to acting on their responses.
The questionnaire will assist you to understand where they’re at, and hopefully, give you some ideas to improve employee wellness.
Tip #2 - ways to improve staff wellness
In your huddles, you could just each share a feel-good moment each day, or each person can come up with a fun fact or funny. This is a nice note to start on each day. A speaker at a conference that I attended a few years ago made this recommendation. We implemented it in our practice. It does take time, but it was a feel-good experience and you learn a little more about each other.
Make a concerted effort to have a 5 - 10 minute chat with your employees once every week or two to see how they are going. This was recommended by The Invisible Orthodontist, (TIO), Superfriend and life coaches are now supporting this. I spoke to a Practice Owner last week who has been doing this successfully.
It can be small; buy everyone a morning coffee or tea.
Get the team together and do something fun like mini golf or an Escape Room experience.
I found this fabulous resource from Superfriend, “5 Simple Ways a Small Organisation Can Improve Employee Well-being” This is a recommended read. In short, they recommend:
Providing opportunities to learn, grow and share knowledge,
Celebrate work successes, birthdays and other exciting events in your employees' lives.
Have a space where workers can take a break, relax and enjoy each other’s company. (If you can all have your lunch break at the same time, this can help. Ensure your reception can be part of this too by scheduling different people to cover phones, walk-ins etc.)
Support your workers when they’re going through rough times and try to reassign some of their work so they have fewer pressures on them.
Tip #3 - what now?
Life post lockdown is challenging. Further complications are isolation with having the virus and requiring time off work. Using open communication and doing some of the recommendations above, can ease the stress and lead to greater staff happiness.
Tip #4 - take charge
Get it done and you and your team will sustain and thrive!
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