Working in a hospital, tending to other people’s needs, hospital employees often forget their own well-being. While seeing the patients recover definitely feels rewarding and their gratitude makes everything worth the effort, there is no doubt that the work itself can get taxing, affecting employees’ physical as well as mental health.
Employee well-being is important in any organization, but it takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to employees of a healthcare organization. Caring for the physical and emotional needs of patients can be done only if the employees are healthy themselves. Often the staff forget their own health concerns and this is why it is the responsibility of the organization to take care of its staff.
Happy employees translate to a good patient experience which is what all hospitals want for their patients.
What Is Employee Well-Being?
Employee well-being does not focus on just good physical health for the employee; it actually encapsulates a number of factors. These include:
- Mental health wellness
- Financial security
- Ensuring a happy work environment
- Proactive leadership
- Helping employees work towards their career goals
With the pandemic having taken quite a toll on employees’ physical as well as mental health, the need for employee wellness is finally being given the importance it deserves. Ensuring employee well-being will ensure the success of the organization as well.
Physical Health Wellness
- Working in a health care setting, awareness of health issues is usually comparatively good but when it comes to actually taking time out to get health issues checked or to go in for preventive health check-ups, employees might need a slight nudge from the employers.
- Hospitals can have routine check-ups for their employees while also encouraging them to pursue a healthy lifestyle.
- Programs for those who need help quitting smoking/alcohol will benefit those who want to quit but do not come out to ask for help.
- Ensuring nice and bright work spaces with lots of plants and sunlight is another sure shot way of cheering up employees.
- By making healthy food choices (like soups, sundal, etc.) available in the hospital cafeteria, employees can be encouraged to eat healthy.
Mental Health Wellness
With COVID-19 came the much-needed focus on mental health and that is one of the key takeaways from the pandemic.
- Mental health wellness is of paramount importance especially in a hospital setting with people working long hours under mental stress.
- Organizations need to train their leaders to lead with empathy and to recognize employee symptoms of burn out.
- Regular counselling sessions for all workers would be of great help as in many cases people themselves do not realize that they are stressed and need help.
- Organizing meditation workshops and teaching employees mindfulness are other ways of equipping employees to deal with stress.
- Regular feedback sessions with employees will help the management understand the problems they face and a solution can be arrived up on with input from the employees. This will also make the employees feel the management is approachable and they will not have any inhibitions in coming to them for future issues.
- How to handle money in a smart way is something many people are unaware of.
- Worrying about money is common but sometimes the worry and tension can affect a person’s work and health.
- At times, this stress can also translate to other unhealthy lifestyle habits like drinking, smoking, bingeing on junk food, etc.
- Teaching employees to manage their money wisely is a great way to help them become not only financially savvy but also more relaxed.
- Programs by finance professionals which start from the basics about saving money to helping them invest will benefit employees immensely.
An Inclusive Stress-Free Work Environment
When the work environment is happy and comfortable, the staff burnout and turnover rate will reduce significantly.
Studies have shown that when the staff are happy, patient outcome is invariably better.
To achieve a good work environment, the following will help:
- Employees should have clear knowledge about what is expected of them – their roles should be well-defined and enough staff should be employed so that the employees are not overworked.
- An inclusive atmosphere should prevail where the employees feel comfortable working together thus making team work easier.
- Recognition and appreciation from the management for a job well done can also boost employee morale making them work better.
- Providing employees with safe working spaces will make them feel valued and cared for.
- A good leader will recognize the emotional needs of the employees and will help prevent burn-out.
- How can burn out be prevented? A leader can prevent employee burn out by stating to the employee his role clearly and what is expected of him.
- Allotting a reasonable work load and enough time to get the work done is important.
- Unrealistic deadlines which put pressure on the employees should be dispensed with.
- When there is a change in an employee’s role, this should be communicated to him clearly.
- A discussion with the employee on what the change involves – whether more work is expected from him, how should he go about handling the change and other such issues when discussed clearly and openly will help the employee handle the change better.
- Talking to the employees about how the work they are doing is helping in making a difference is also a great way to keep them motivated and to prevent burn out.
- No employee likes to be stagnant in his position.
- When ways to help employees advance are not thought of and implemented, it will lead to the employee losing interest in his job and consequently moving out of the organization.
- What drives an employee varies. For example, one might look to study further while working to improve his educational qualifications while another might want to ascend the ranks within the organization itself.
- Identifying employee goals and facilitating their progress to it will keep employees motivated and enthusiastic.
When a healthcare organization or any organization for that matter focuses on its employees’ health and happiness, the employees will not only perform better but will also be motivated to come up with better processes and solutions leading to an overall improvement in the experience offered to the patient.