In these unpredictable and changing COVID times, overwhelming feelings of stress and burnout may have crept into the lives of medical staff that are trying to take care of numerous patients on an everyday basis, even as they juggle endless long hours and little to no rest. But just as it is in other workplace environments, the well-being of employees in the hospital workforce is also a priority. Employee Health (EH) nurses and clinicians alike can benefit from exploring different ways they can keep their health departments running smoothly, while also helping their staff members feel supported and cared for. Below are a few suggestions to improve employee health in hospital settings and make sure everybody feels heard.
1) Send a Clear Message That Employees Are Cared For
Hospital employers are encouraged to have an open dialogue with their medical staff and learn more about what they can do to promote elements of well-being and good health in EH departments.1 It’s important to stress to medical staff that not only are they valued for their continuous hard work, but that they are also appreciated as individuals. Per Becker’s Hospital Review, the following questions may help hospitals gauge how their employees see the company they work for and what matters to them in their line of work:2
- Do we regularly measure employee engagement?
- Do we create action plans and communicate results?
- Do we have fun at work?
- Do we regularly demonstrate our commitment to growing and training our employees?
- Do we have a system in place to show we care about the personal lives of our employees?
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2) Provide Workplace Wellness Programs
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 83 percent of hospitals have employee wellness programs, compared to 46 percent of all employers.3 The benefits of having a hospital wellness program in place are limitless. From leading to increased productivity to encouraging healthy workplace culture, these wellness programs allow workers to take control of their health and it also gives hospital employees access to resources such as health assessments, coaching and even gym memberships. In fact, the Harvard Business Review reported that 79 percent of employees who participate in wellness programs are “extremely satisfied” with it and are more likely “to stay with their employer and to refer someone to the company.”4
While most hospitals do offer an employee wellness program, some may not. EH departments that are considering adding said program are encouraged to consider the following:
- Find synergies with existing facilities that reduce cost.
- Inform, motivate, and establish a culture of health.
- Listen to employees and seek their feedback.
- Track the program’s success and monitor employee wellbeing with Net Health® Employee Health for Hospitals (Agility®).
3) Work to Improve Hospital Employee Engagement
It’s easy to get wrapped up in a job’s daily workload and sometimes lose sight of how one’s participation, initiative, and engagement are also key factors to a hospital’s success. One of the ways EH departments can drive this home is by making engagement part of the hospital’s core strategy. Gaining support from those in a senior leadership position who are just as passionate about employee engagement can also help demonstrate to medical staff that their active participation and feedback matters. Another way to improve employee engagement is by focusing on employee relationships with front-line supervisors, thus encouraging training supervisors to be more open and supportive of employees.5
Hospitals and health systems can be great examples for health and wellness, not just with patients but with their own employees as well. Establishing a supportive, health-conscious and caring workplace environment can prove to be a win-win situation for all.
1 Gallup, “Poor Well-Being Is Killing Your Business,” June 19, 2012.
2 Becker’s Hospital Review, “10 Questions Every Hospital Should Ask Its Employees,” August 21, 2012.
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Workplace Health Promotion,” May 28, 2020.
4 Harvard Business Review, “Why People Do — and Don’t — Participate in Wellness Programs,” October 10, 2016.
5 Becker’s Hospital Review, “6 Tips to Improve Hospital Employee Engagement,” May 23, 2011.