By | November 24, 2016

By 2024, the health and human services (HHS) industry is expected to grow 10 percent, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This reflects faster growth for all positions in HHS, ranging from health community workers to behavioral and addiction counselors and beyond. Every year, the holiday season represents one of the greatest periods of stress your staff may experience, which can spur many to resign.

Rather than hoping for the best, you can help reduce employee burnout by giving caregivers the gift of care. In other words, you need to use these steps to encourage employee retention and satisfaction as the holiday season winds up.

1. Manage Workers’ Caseloads

Employees’ caseloads tend to grow around the holidays. Per the Child Welfare Information Gateway (CWIG), overwhelming caseloads can make serving families effectively impossible. Furthermore, excessive workloads could lead to lawsuits or injuries of clients or workers. Therefore, you need to avoid giving workers more caseloads through temporary hires, outsourcing employee positions or other means.

2. Enhance Support for Workers

Helping others can be emotionally draining. Create support systems in the workplace, such as employee assistance programs, to provide emotional support. Similarly, grant programs or reasonable loan programs can go a long way in encouraging employees.

3. Implement Evidence-Based Standards

Evidence-based practices in your organization have been proven to be effective in minimizing employee burnout. Reduce the paperwork required between visits with consumers, and define proactive ways of managing caseloads.

For example, use preventative screening tools to discern if a customer is experiencing health problems before he or she complains of the issue. Essentially, this will help reduce future work for your staff members.

4. Consider Cultural Differences and Needs

The modern HHS industry is made up of a variety of cultures and experiences from people around the world. This diversity can also pose a problem; caregivers need to be understanding of others’ cultural beliefs and needs throughout the year. In other words, you need to create a policy that encourages diversity, understanding and acceptance of others. Similarly, people of other cultures may celebrate different holidays or life events, so scheduling and management concerns must always try to accommodate these needs.

5. Ensure Employees Have Time to Disconnect From Work

Employees may consistently perform work-related duties outside of work hours. Unfortunately, this will lead to burnout faster than any other action. Make sure your employees have a way to disconnect form work, explains the Harvard Business Review. For example, create a “no accessing emails after x time” policy.

Another way of ensuring this disconnect is through spending time with workers outside of work. Having a meal or engaging in recreational activities with your team can help everyone avoid working when it is not necessary. Furthermore, this will build trust between management and lower-level staff members, reducing burnout along the way.

6. Use Teams to Lessen Overall Workload

A team-based working environment helps keep ideation fresh and exciting. More important, this builds rapport between workers, which boosts productivity and efficiency. If workloads are becoming too difficult to manage for one person, consider creating a team of workers to handle the issue.

7. Be Compassionate

As careers advance into management, a disconnect forms between managers and lower-level staff members. However, all staff members are essential to the success of your organization. While you may have to apply disciplinary action, be compassionate toward your employees. Remember they are people too.

8. Improve Worker Effectiveness Through Flexible Training

Flexible training solutions, such as mobile training modules, can help reduce employee burnout by giving employees freedom. In other words, they can complete training when they have time and avoid the pitfalls of being chained to a desk at work for all training needs.

9. Take Advantage of Teleworking Capabilities

Like mobile training, teleworking capabilities have the power to expand employees’ freedom even more. If employees do not necessarily have to be present in your facility to perform their duties, consider making teleworking with laptops, tablets or smart devices an option.

10. Boost Communication

When workers isolate themselves at work, communication suffers, breeding negativity. Boost communication among your staff by creating fun ways of eliminating negativity and encouraging interaction.

For example, an employee who complains can put a pickle in the pickle jar, explains the American Hospital Association, which symbolically improves emotional well-being. Other tactics to improve communication include conference calls, presence of management and app-based communication tools.

11. Give Employees Self-Management Opportunities

Employees rise to the challenge when given the opportunity for self-management. Because the holidays may cause shift issues, try to give employees a way to manage their schedules independently. However, avoid using paper-based systems to swap shifts, which can be lost or misplaced, leaving management out of the loop.

12. Recognize Employees for Their Accomplishments

Workers who do not receive recognition may be more apt to look for the next best opportunity. While this may appear vain, it reflects the human need for acknowledgement, explains the Huffington Post. Additionally, create a means of recognizing outstanding workers easily, such as creating a social media page devoted to recognizing workers’ accomplishments.

Final Thoughts

The holidays do not have to be a time of resignation and major fatigue on your staff members. This year, give your employees something to look forward to, and learn how to encourage them to work more efficiently. Start with implementing these 12 tips, but do not limit yourself. The opportunities for engaging workers and reducing burnout are endless, and you can give yourself the peace of mind that comes when your workers enjoy and want to perform their responsibilities.

Jason Vanover

Working in health care since 2005, Jason's body of experience encompasses dozens of care settings, including Senior care, psychiatric facilities, nonprofit health service centers, group homes for those with developmental disabilities and beyond. Jason understands the need to tailor his skills to each setting to encourage the best treatment outcomes and promote an inclusive, healing environment.


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