Carolyn Becker, CVPM, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CVT
The second half of summer… the hospital is crazy as ever, appointments and surgeries are booked out for weeks (or months), and for many practices, clients are returning to the building. Patient caseloads are at an all-time high. Fatigue and exhaustion become the norm. Focus is difficult. Is your employee morale low?
If you have employees frequently calling out sick, or arriving late when they are normally on time, pay attention. Take notice of employees who are normally go-getters but lately seem lackadaisical or even apathetic. Watch for short tempers and extreme reactions. This is the time of year when burnout really takes hold.
Burnout and low morale are a vicious cycle.
There’s not a magic wand to fix burnout or low morale. There is more than one contributing factor. Buying coffee or lunch for the staff only goes so far.
Managers often feel they must have all the solutions, and get frustrated when they don’t. But a good place to start is by listening to your people. Some may outwardly voice burnout. Others will muddle through in silence.
Not sure how your employees are doing? Ask.
Often, what is really needed is a listening ear. Ask how they are doing. Ask what their frustrations are. Ask what would make their lives easier. Ask what brings them joy. Ask what makes them laugh.
Tell them that they are important to you and that you care about their well-being. Tell them specifically why you appreciate them. Tell them again. And again.
Make sure your team gets out for breaks and lunch. Encourage them to start planning a vacation soon so they have something to look forward to. In the meantime, see if you can schedule them a long weekend off.
Set the example for your staff, and model self-care actions. Take your lunches, take your breaks. Plan your own time off.
Overcommunication and frequent check-ins are critical during this time.
As a manager, one of the best things you can do is just be present for your staff. Present in the moment. Check in more than you think you need to. Communicate and invite feedback in return. Bring fun into the workplace when you can. Be silly when the moment allows. Celebrate successes, however small.
And remember that our staff are people first, and employees second.