Recruiting and retaining staff stands as one of the biggest challenges that healthcare companies are facing in 2023. At the end of 2022, healthcare job openings reached record highs, and updated reports from mid-2023 show job openings continue to be a concern.
To address the challenge, some companies are enhancing the employee experience and driving higher levels of employee satisfaction by offering programs that support employee self-care.
“Programs that encourage and support employee self-care not only benefit individual employees but also contribute to improved morale, productivity, and overall organizational success,” explains Lauren Winans, CEO and Principal HR Consultant at Next Level Benefits.
Founded in 2019, Next Level Benefits is an HR consulting practice that supports excellence in HR practices by providing clients with access to HR professionals for both short-term and long-term projects. Over her 20-year career in human resources, Winans has developed a deep expertise in HR best practices and initiatives that resonate with employees.
Recent studies show that companies offering the type of programs Winans is referring to have a higher chance of attracting top talent, especially among millennial and Gen Z job seekers. Studies also show companies that value the health of their workforce have higher employee retention rates.
The following strategies for fostering greater self-care can help companies seeking to improve the effectiveness of their recruiting and retention efforts.
Providing wellness programs
One of the top ways to support self-care among employees is to offer wellness programs. These programs provide employees with the understanding and resources they need to properly care for their physical, emotional, and mental health.
“Organizations that offer wellness programs demonstrate a commitment to employee health and encourage employees to prioritize self-care,” Winans says. “An effective program will include initiatives such as gym memberships, yoga or meditation classes, health screenings, stress management workshops, or employee assistance programs.”
Fostering a supportive work environment
Beyond providing resources, organizations can also encourage self-care by creating a positive and supportive work environment. “The ideal environment will make employees feel comfortable discussing their self-care needs and challenges,” Winans explains. “This includes encouraging open communication and providing resources or support networks for employees facing personal or health-related issues.”
Winans also encourages managers to be empathetic and supportive of their employees’ well-being. “Managers who want to encourage self-care should conduct regular check-ins with their team members to discuss workload, stress levels, and overall well-being. This gives them an opportunity to understand and address concerns by offering support or resources as needed.”
Encouraging regular breaks and time off
One practical way organizations can inspire their employees to practice a higher level of self-care is to encourage them to take regular breaks during the workday to rest and recharge.
“Discourage a culture of continuous work and promote the importance of mental and physical breaks for productivity and well-being,” Winans says. “Additionally, actively encourage employees to use their vacation time and provide support for them to disconnect and recharge during their time off.”
Offering flexible work schedules
Flexible schedules, which afford employees the opportunity to address personal and family needs with fewer conflicts, can contribute significantly to self-care. Where feasible, companies should consider supporting self-care by offering flexible work schedules.
“Flexible work schedules allow employees to better manage their personal commitments, reduce commuting time, and create a better work-life integration,” Winans says. “They can definitely contribute to reduced stress and improved overall well-being.”
Employers who support employee self-care win because they clearly show that they value their workforce. By empowering employees to be their best selves, they equip them to do their best work. Adopting the steps listed above are key to building a more loyal, engaged, and productive organization.