For years, big tech companies have been trailblazers when it comes to creative perks and benefits packages that employees love. Whether it’s providing travel stipends, furniture allowances, or even pet care reimbursements, nothing helps an organization attract and retain talent like down-to-earth, practical benefits that have immediate and tangible impacts.
The healthcare industry, unfortunately, is sorely lacking in this department. In healthcare, the stakes are higher, which leads to strong undercurrents of risk aversion — meaning many organizations become set in their ways and shy away from trying new things. But for better or worse, the past few years have shaken things up in the healthcare space and organizations now find themselves adopting new strategies in order to optimize procedures and mitigate unprecedented rates of staff burnout.
One of the best ways to reduce this burnout is to implement creative healthcare benefits that help employees feel valued and that take their mental health into consideration.
Creative Approaches Worth Considering
The next generation of the healthcare workforce is already here; and their values are often incompatible with the way some organizations conduct business. On the whole, the new generation requires some level of flexibility and better work/life balance. Things such as predictability in schedules, “fun” work environments, continued learning opportunities, and being involved in their community are just a few top priorities.
Here are some ways you can help employees feel fulfilled for the long-term:
- Sabbaticals: Some hospitals have begun providing staff with mini-sabbaticals, allowing them to disconnect after a particularly intense period of work. If a staff member exhibits exceptional performance, the hospital will grant them a designated amount of money to be spent on something enjoyable or enriching — not work-related.
- Leniency in scheduling: One way to retain employees for the long-term is through passive benefits such as lenient scheduling. This could mean allowing staff to leave at noon on a Friday after meeting certain goals, encouraging more time off, or making time for fulfilling team-building activities.
- Creative activities: One organization we work with found a creative way to team-build and get involved in the community at the same time. They started a program where staff volunteers built bicycles and donated them to a children’s charity. Employees had a fun time building the bikes because they were for a good cause, and the organization got some positive PR as an added bonus!
- Annual retreat: Whether for leadership teams or the entire company, consider a yearly retreat that allows employees to have some fun, step out of the daily grind, and get a clearer view of the big picture. It’s a great way to let staff make meaningful connections with each other, problem solve, build skills, and more.
In the Operating Room, we are often faced with additional constraints on what we can and cannot do. Every surgeon will tell you, “just pay them more,” but SHC has found that pay is not the top priority when trying to retain staff. Over the last several years, the biggest factors that contribute to retention in the perioperative spaces are:
- Making staff feel in control of their day: Minimize schedule volatility and ensure cases happen where they are planned and not moved and churned to save 5 minutes here or there.
- Creating an ASC environment in some rooms: Target rooms that end at 3 or 5 and treat them like an ASC. When the work is done, you get to go home without a reduction in pay, but if the room runs late, you have to cover it – no reliving shifts in those rooms.
- Removing the day-to-day chaos found in ORs: A great governance structure that is physician-led will eliminate the daily friction, conflict and controversy of running the OR.
There is a notable throughline in these recommendations — they have been prevalent and even essential in other industries for years now. But healthcare staff burnout continues at an unprecedented rate; and the new generation of workers doesn’t feel particularly loyal to any single organization anymore. If they feel like an insignificant cog in a machine, they will have no qualms about going down the street where they feel more valued.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced a sink-or-swim situation onto organizations across the globe, so it’s high time to get creative in how you attract and retain talent.
Sullivan Healthcare Consulting Can Be Your Life Raft
Sullivan Healthcare Consulting is here to make sure your business swims rather than sinks, so to speak. We work with healthcare clients across the country to help them make necessary shifts toward continued success. Our team of seasoned, leading-edge perioperative experts will help you achieve higher margins by optimizing surgical services.
Our process is straightforward: assess and benchmark all perioperative services, identify what isn’t working, find consensus for solutions, and help correct it.
Find out how our perioperative consultants can move your organization forward and increase operational efficiency. Contact our team of experts today.