Nobody enjoys being pushed to their breaking point, but in 2022, as many healthcare organizations struggle to catch up with projects put on the backburner during the height of the pandemic, address staffing changes as seasoned staff leave their positions and are replaced with greener employees, and face a greater need for their services than ever before, burnout has become the word of the day. Creating a company culture of self-care can help prevent burnout, but it’s really about something bigger. A company culture of self-care lives beyond the next few months and reaches past the pandemic recovery years, well into the future of your healthcare center, protecting your hardworking team now and attracting top talent later.
So, what exactly is a company culture of self-care, and how do we create it in the healthcare space? Let’s dive in!
Company culture is defined as “how you do what you do in the workplace.” Indeed describes it as the personality of a company. And SHRM.org outlines the different elements that make up a company’s culture as:
- Human nature – What qualities do people in your organization possess? Are they kind? Ambitious? Proactive or reactive?
- Emotions – What emotions are employees encouraged to express and which ones are discouraged or seen as not fit for the workplace?
- Effectiveness – How does your organization measure success?
Clearly, company culture is multifaceted, develops over time, and there are many different factors to consider as your grow and shape your organization’s culture. But bringing self-care in as a wing of your company culture can have long-lasting benefits on your team.
Well-being in the Workplace
Many workplaces have what are known as “Wellness Programs” – we’ve all probably received those free pedometers to wear around the office, competing for steps to win a coveted coffee shop gift card. But in 2022, these wellness programs are taking on new life. A survey conducted by Fidelty and the Business Group on Health found that 83% of employers surveyed would be making employee well-being a critical focus in 2022. They planned to build these programs around mental health, physical health, and work-life balance efforts.
Healthcare Workers and a Culture of Self-Care
Healthcare workers have entered a field dedicated to taking care of others, and there are many healthcare workers that don’t feel they have the time, resources or energy to dedicate to taking care of themselves. Administrators are overworked and providers are overwhelmed. Creating a company culture of self-care will make it easier for your employees to care for themselves in the long-term, and when the company prioritizes its employees, they are able to do their jobs better.
So, how do we do that for our healthcare teams? Each organization will be different but here are a few ideas to try with your team:
- Invest in your employees
Employee wellness programs can be a form of investing in your team. Doing the research and dedicating the time to craft a useful employee wellness program that fits the structure of your organization and motivates your team to take advantage of the resources available can create real change.
In addition, offer programs that pay for certifications and continuing education. These make your employees feel valued and can help them get out of the office for a much-needed change of scenery while allowing them to work on something that makes them feel accomplished. Investing in your employee’s growth shows them you care about their future, teaches them investing in themselves is something your healthcare center celebrates, and will increase your employee retention.
- Benefits matter
Not every healthcare center has the budget for extravagant benefit packages but consider offering more than just a salary. Providing benefits in the form of stipends, bonuses, paid time off, or even a flexible work schedule can go a long way towards giving your employees the breaks they need and attracting more talent to your organization. Additionally, show your employees that these benefits are meant to be used. Some companies have amazing benefits that employees never use because their company culture implicitly discourages things like taking your vacation days off or calling in your flextime when you need a break. Encouraging your team to use their benefits shows them your company culture values self-care and the wellbeing of your people over the bottom line.
- Lighten the load
Being overworked is a huge factor contributing to healthcare staff burnout, so look for ways to lighten the load on your staff. If you have the budget to hire new employees and grow your team, move that to the top of your to-do list. Growing your team is a great way to boost morale and lighten the load on your current staff.
If hiring isn’t an option right now, look at ways you can redistribute the workload. Are there certain tasks that leadership may be handling that could be passed down to a different employee? Can you offer administrative staff more variety in their tasks, giving them different areas to learn in?
Another option is outsourcing tasks to free up time for your current employees. Many organizations worry that outsourcing may cost jobs by replacing their current employees. However, outsourcing is more about optimizing than replacing. By handing a process, such as your medical billing or revenue cycle management, off to experts, you are freeing up your current staff to focus on more pressing issues and increasing their bandwidth, along with maximizing your revenue. Many billing companies, like Practice Management, take their payments from a percentage of the revenue they collect for your healthcare center, so you’re at no risk of losing money. If you’re interested in learning more about our billing services, check out this page or contact us here.
Communicate with your team daily. Make this communication open, informal, and collaborative. Think of this like a pre-game huddle for your day and use the time to set your team goals, ask for concerns, check in with your team emotionally, and praise successes. Listen more than you talk. This type of communication shows your employees they matter, and they should feel free to express their needs to their leaders. Keeping these lines of communication open throughout the day will foster a company culture, or personality, that encourages teamwork and doesn’t shame employees for needing to care for themselves.
- Talk about boundaries
When an employee falls behind, they may feel like working longer hours is the solution, and some companies push that narrative on their teams. However, working overtime all the time usually has the opposite effect and decreases an employee’s productivity, rushing them towards burnout even faster. Discussing boundaries openly with your staff shows them saying no is okay, and that your healthcare center wants a team that takes care of themselves while taking care of others. Practical ways to encourage this kind of culture would be to encourage your employees to take their lunch breaks every day and to truly clock-out mentally when they’re off the clock. Make it clear that your expectations are not longer hours, but accomplishing what they can while maintaining boundaries.
These five tips should help you look at the culture of your healthcare center and see ways you can move the needle towards a company culture of self-care. These tactics will not change everything overnight but putting in the work long-term will slowly but surely move your company culture in the right direction, protecting your staff now and making your healthcare center the kind of place attracts top talent in the future.