Four Strategies for Building and Maintaining Resilient Healthcare Teams

Four Strategies for Building and Maintaining Resilient Healthcare Teams was originally published on Hospital Recruiting.

Having resilient healthcare teams is essential for the immediate and long-term success of healthcare organizations. Resiliency is crucial and challenging now, considering the current epidemic, financial constraints, rapidly changing technology, and fluctuations within healthcare delivery systems. Even typically resilient workers are emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted. Let’s examine some ways to build a resilient team.

Hire workers that have a Track Record of Resiliency

While hiring applicants before another organization snatches them up can be tempting, it is vital to consider long-term implications when vetting potential staff. Resilient workers will remain committed to your organization for a long time. Hiring individuals who already demonstrate resiliency can provide a boost for existing teams. It is vital to hire resilient leaders.

 

Provide Comprehensive Health and Wellness Programs

Forward-thinking organizations stay in close contact with staff to find out what kind of wellness programs they think would be helpful. Simply providing an employee assistance program is not sufficient. During times of crisis such as these, workers are subject to developing multiple emotional issues due to stress at work and home. Rates of suicide, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse are high. Make sure that your organization provides education to staff about the risks of those problems. Offer stress management programs. Provide information about community resources that staff can reach out to independently. Be prepared to assist workers in obtaining those services when needed. Create a culture of nurturing as a pose of judgment when burnout symptoms occur. Avoid unintentional shaming of workers who have difficulty coping.  While it is crucial to recognize staff for going above and beyond in these challenging times, make sure that your organization doesn’t take advantage of resilient staff as they are also subject to burnout.

Implement mental health days if already not part of the benefits package. Invite practitioners to practice chair massage, aromatherapy, and other techniques to improve health and wellness. Schedule activities so that evening, night, and weekend workers may take advantage of them.

 

Balance Community and Worker Needs

It is not sufficient to only provide employee wellness programs or hire individuals who have a track record of resiliency. The organizational culture must be open, understanding, and supportive for all. While it is vital to care for the community, it’s not realistic to have staff working long shifts or working extensive amounts of overtime. Leaders must seek creative solutions to balance community needs with maintaining a healthy, resilient workforce.

 

Create a Healthy Work Culture

Having a supportive, humane work culture is more than just a buzz phrase for success. Back up education and wellness efforts with a work culture that is genuinely interested in all members. Let’s use time management education as an example.

Providing opportunities for staff to learn time management skills can help them feel less pressured and stressed as they work efficiently. However, simply offering education about time management is not enough. Leaders must look at ways that the entire organization can improve time management. Listen to employees when they speak of concerns about inefficiency within the organization.  Seek solutions for all areas of the organization impacted. For example, are there tools available that the organization needs to invest in to enhance efficient communication? Are there policies and procedures which need to be changed? Would changes in scheduling be beneficial?

Resiliency increases when staff are heard and know that their concerns are valued. Ask workers to identify areas that they see as inefficient within the organization. Being listened to and having management make changes because of employee input is much more effective than management-originated strategies. Employees are invested when they are involved in decision-making.

If inefficiency results from regulations outside of the organization’s control, it is vital that leaders take steps to mediate those issues. For example, they may need to reach out to medical associations or regulatory bodies. Employees appreciate being heard and valued. Empower your staff by going the extra mile. Make sure that workers know that the organization’s leaders share their concerns and are taking needed steps to remedy them. Keep employees abreast of actions taken and progress made.

 

The Rewards of having a Resilient Culture are Immeasurable

In addition to teaching and implementing strategies that enhance resiliency related to problems within the organization, much of the attempts to help staff and hence the organization flourish come down to implementing means to relieve the workers’ emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion. As individual staff members become more resilient, the entire organization becomes more robust and resilient as well.