One of the many knock-on effects of the pandemic is an increase in employee burnout. While the healthcare industry hasn’t seen the hiring freezes and mass layoffs that plagued other industries last year, the increased demand for home healthcare services has created an influx of work with fewer hands to perform it.
Burnout is an industry agnostic problem, but the home healthcare industry sees a tremendous amount of turnover related to burnout due to the demanding schedules and arduous nature of the work. According to Home Care Pulse, the cost of replacing the average caregiver is $2,600. Additionally, when turnover is high, your current staff must carry the weight and often are needed to work overtime, costing your agency additional dollars.
Burnout can affect your patients, as well. When a home care provider is feeling the effects of burnout, their margin for error increases and can even lead them to be more apathetic toward hygienics. Needless to say, burnout is a problem you’ve got to fix.
Luckily, there are some ways to mitigate employee burnout. Here are a few options for addressing and alleviating burnout.
1. Support mental health
Last year was exhausting for many individuals, and as the pandemic rages on, thinking about the health and happiness of your employees is a must. Everyday, you work to ensure safety precautions are followed by your employees, but investing time and resources into your staff’s mental health is necessary if you’re interested in keeping your team around.
Talking about the importance of mental wellness is the first step. Destigmatizing conversations around mental health can help your employees be more open and honest if they have an issue or feel stressed. Use group settings to address the importance of mental wellness so as to not put anyone on the spot, but make it clear that your door is always open.
Employees are not likely to come to you to talk about their mental health, so taking the first step is important. According to Mind Share, less than 30% of employees feel comfortable talking to their managers about their mental health, so make sure you’re approaching conversations the right way, and not pushing them to talk if they’re not comfortable. And, of course, keep all conversations you do end up having with individuals private.
2. Talk to your team
While you’re talking with your team about mental health, talk to them about burnout, too. If they’re having a particularly stressful month, suggest they take a mental health day or ask if there’s other ways you can support them. If they’ve been dealing with a particularly difficult patient, consider creating a rotation so the same aide isn’t constantly on duty. It isn’t always comfortable for employees to present problems to their boss, so be proactive and make sure you’re starting the conversation.
Be aware of behavior changes, as well. If you have a fantastic employee that lately has been acting out of character, make sure to check in with them instead of having knee-jerk reactions to their behavior. This can be a telltale sign of burnout.
Additionally, you can anonymously poll your agency to find out the overall mood and feeling toward stress and overworking. This can give you better insight into where and how you need to make adjustments.
3. Consider your schedule
When you’re understaffed, it may be difficult to address packed schedules, but you can try to make sure each of your employees has enough time for themselves. Schedule in breaks, stagger cases that are more difficult, and try to evenly distribute workload as much as possible. While this isn’t addressing the root of the issue, you can help keep your employees around longer with respectful scheduling.
Keep your clients informed if you do plan to have rotating aides so that there’s no confusion or surprises. The heads up will ensure everyone is on the same page.
4. Evaluate your benefits
An overworked employee who feels unappreciated will likely find another company to work for. It’s your job to make sure your staff feels and knows that they are taken care of. If you don’t offer mental health days, consider doing so. You can look into covering the cost of a mental wellness app like Headspace or Calm, or you can work on focusing more on career growth opportunities and covering the cost of licensing and continuing education courses.
Think about your company culture and employer brand, too. You want to ensure that your agency is a place where people are treated fairly and respectfully, so outline that in your core values. If you’re interested in keeping employees around, you must make your agency a place that people want to work.
5. Speed up your hiring process
A slow hiring process is a huge part of burnout, as it keeps you understaffed for longer, and it costs you more than you know. Hireology data found that for each day a profit-driving role is open, employers lose an average of $1,000 in gross profit.
Speed up your hiring process through automated software that lets you review applicants from anywhere, communicate instantly, and integrate with your payroll and scheduling systems. The difference a good hiring platform can make will surprise you. Since adopting Hireology in 2017, this Texas in-home care agency was able to streamline their hiring process and now hires new employees in an average of just ten days.
6. Value connection
It may be nice at times to have the autonomy that comes with working in the home health industry, but not being able to connect with your teammates can be tough at times, too.
Create an environment that welcomes connection, whether it’s through virtual support groups or monthly in-person happy hours. Other options include continuing education offerings that get healthcare workers in the same room, or mentorship programs that allow for more senior caregivers to share their expertise with your newer employees.
Hireology wants to help you combat burnout in your agency. If you’re interested in seeing how we can transform how you hire, you can schedule a demo here.