According to a new survey of 2,000 Americans, more than half of consumers said they’ve visited a clinic where the staff appeared consistently burned out — and that may be costing clinics a considerable amount of bookings.
Having the right talent present is only part of the equation. It’s also about keeping your staff consistently happy and productive on the job.
Read on for strategies to increase staff effectiveness that will help retain both your staff and your customers.
Improve your scheduling system
Creating a healthier work-life balance can sometimes be a matter of investing in the right tech. Have you considered changing your staff scheduling solution?
More than three in five healthcare consumers suggested better schedule management to alleviate burnout. Look for a scheduling solution that will minimize paperwork, create more realistic workloads for teams, and shorten wait times for patients.
Greater appointment availability is a big part of why consumers opt for clinics over hospitals or doctor’s offices. Make it even easier for them by avoiding coverage shortages and reducing scheduling inefficiency with an employee scheduling tool. You can keep your staff and your patients happy when you have the right staff scheduled at the right time.
Use scheduling templates. The right scheduling software will allow you to build efficient schedules for your team with the help of AI. These smart schedules can help ensure your staff aren’t working too many — or too few — hours.
Empower your staff. Instead of playing schedule Jenga when someone calls out sick, use an app that allows your staff to swap shifts with each other. That means you’re never understaffed and don’t have to worry about filling the shift.
Look at the big picture. Use a staff scheduling solution that gives you a full scope of your business. Get a clear picture of who has time off, who's available, and whether there are gaps in coverage
Provide breaks for meditation and relaxation
With greater scheduling clarity comes an easier way to see when things are slower, and allow staff to take some time off, as well. All too often, taking a break elicits feelings of guilt or worries of being perceived as unmotivated.
But consumers think that providing breaks could have a positive impact. In fact, 52% of survey respondents said they believe that breaks for meditation or relaxation could prevent burnout at healthcare clinics.
This can help them be better focused and get more done, rather than being “on” all the time. Give them some much-needed breathing room, which fosters productivity and allows them to bring more of their potential to the table.
To ensure the best patient care, help your team be more productive and give them space to find their inner zen.
Lead by example. Aside from taking mini-breaks together with staff, managers should be transparent about their own PTO. This could strengthen trust by showing they’re part of the team. When leadership is perceived as more authentic and relatable, it can result in more realistic expectations for everyone.
Make mental health a priority. Kick-off conversations on mental health. This can help further de-stigmatize discussing the topic internally. Your team is much more likely to look up to someone they can relate to, rather than a manager whose glamorized, somewhat distorted version of reality conceals their own inner turmoil.
Do more with office decor. Create a space that encourages your staff to meditate or destress. Little changes to your lighting or decor can have a lasting impact on making your staff feel calmer.
Foster a culture of communication
Another way to help increase staff effectiveness is by focusing on communication.
More than a third of patients (37%) said that onsite counseling could help reduce staff burnout. But what if external counseling doesn’t work for your practice?
Communicate with your team frequently. Check-in with staff in both group meetings as well as one-on-one. Not only is this a great way to make sure everyone’s workload is realistic and reflected accurately in the software you’re using, but it’s also a good opportunity to reconnect with your team outside the daily grind.
These connections foster a greater sense of trust, allow for real-time feedback from your staff and provide a mini-break for all involved.
Here are a few ways to improve your communication with your team.
Recognize your team’s contributions. Incentivizing workers may hold the key to stabilizing the work-life scale, as consumers agreed health care employees should receive perks such as increased compensation (52%), bonuses (47%), and more paid time off (45%). Be transparent about what staff need to do to be eligible for monetary rewards or awards. Having the time to relax and use some of their financial perks, such as discounts to their favorite stores, can boost morale and keep your team around for longer.
Encourage innovation. Always have an ear to staff feedback on what processes can be improved for both your team and your patients. You never know where the next best suggestion might come from, so take the time to hear out your team and maintain an “open door” policy.
Streamline your tech. The right software de-silos teams by providing greater visibility into everyone’s schedules — from front office staff to managers. It also allows staff to take paid time off and sick days with greater confidence knowing someone will be there to cover their load. Consider simplifying appointment bookings for patients, as well — anything that can be automated will be one less thing for your staff to worry about.
The right balance
As a practice manager, you need to create a healthy work-life balance for yourself — but you also need to help your team achieve work-life balance. Believe it or not, it can be the difference between quality care and disgruntled patients.
Ready for more tips? Download The Practice Manager’s Guide to Work-Life Balance to learn why your staff’s stress is costing you patient bookings (and ultimately revenue).