Doctors and nurses experience stress every day, which can take a toll on their mental and physical well-being. Lower health levels mean lower morale. And with lower morale, they become more likely to leave.
According to a report from Nursing Solutions, Inc., the turnover rate in hospitals is 16.2 percent, costing up to $7.86 million each year. As such, it’s paramount to come up with a strategy to ensure employee morale is always high.
Here are five easy ways to cultivate more positive employee morale.
Reward and recognize
While some factors causing hospital staff to leave their jobs may be outside their employer’s control, there’s one aspect that can be influenced: how employers reward, recognize employees in the workplace.
According to the NHS Staff Survey 2017, only 42 percent of employees feel they’re valued by their employers. Considering how much is asked from health workers, taking time to appreciate what they do is the least employers can do to raise morale.
According to a study published in the Journal of Hospital Administration, reward systems are a vital aspect of any organization since it can serve as a motivating factor for employees to improve efficiency and effectiveness and loyalty to organizational goals and targets. The study found that monetary rewards had a positive impact on employee performance, and they can act as a tool for growth and development in an organization.
Here are simple ideas for recognizing good work:
- Shout-outs or other informal but public communications
- Extra time off
- Awards for exceptional service
- Annual recognition dinners
Be flexible with scheduling
According to a report published by the National Academy of Medicine, between 35 and 54 percent of doctors and nurses in the U.S. experience burnout. The report said burnouts were a result of working extended hours, mounting paperwork, among others. Symptoms of burnout include cynicism, emotional exhaustion, increasing detachment from their patients, and loss of enthusiasm and joy in their work.
On the other hand, burnout can be also expensive. One study shows burnouts can cost the US medical system $4.6 billion each year. Some of that cost stems from doctors slashing their hours, leaving their jobs, or medicine altogether.
One of the causes of burnouts is extended work hours. Flexible schedules help ensure your staff gets the proper amount of rest they need. Here are three ways to do it.
- Float pools – Many hospitals have established full-time float teams to cover shortage in staffing, allowing doctors and nurses to take time off when needed.
- Per-diem registered nurses – These nurses work on an on-call, temporary basis, filling in for nurses who are on leave.
- Alternative scheduling – Utilize non-traditional work scheduling techniques, like staggered start times, overlapping shifts, compressed workweeks, and even unlimited paid time.
Another good way to improve employee morale is by building a “feedback culture” within your organization. If your staff feels free to share what they think about the organization, management, and other employees, they’re more likely to be happy and engaged. Engaged employees are more productive employees, and they’re more likely to be loyal to your organization. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, employees who are engaged are 20 to 25 percent more effective in the workplace.
On the other hand, up to 70 percent of employers think their office culture encourages open discussion and the free exchange of ideas. But, just less than 50 percent of employees think that’s the case. Having an open space where your employees can feel like they can offer ideas and ask questions is critical to attaining high morale. Most of the time, employees who feel constrained in their ability to communicate become frustrated.
Encourage training and development
According to a 2016 Pew Research Center survey, 54 percent of employees consider it essential to get training and develop new skills to keep up with the changes in the workplace.
But, not only will training and development courses contribute to their knowledge, but employees will also feel more valued, therefore increasing satisfaction. Set programs where they can learn and develop new skills. For example, invite an expert who can hold a talk on electronic medical records or telemed software. Training programs provide your staff with knowledge and guidance to help them achieve their career goals, improve patient experience, and support the organization as a whole.
Provide competitive compensation
Compensation is one primary driver to the happiness of your staff. According to Glassdoor, the current national average salary of a healthcare worker is $65,506 in the U.S. And as the healthcare industry continues to grow, competitive salaries, bonuses and other benefits are becoming more important for staff retention. Given the high rate of turnover in this field, you must consider handing out above market rate salaries, as well as competitive benefits packages.
Losing employees, especially in healthcare, can be very costly. But improving staff morale can help you reduce employee turnover. Foster a more positive work environment today by following these tips.