19 Nov How to Help Caregivers Avoid Burnout
A massive labor shortage has made the work environment for home care providers increasingly challenging. As a result, agency owners are now on double duty: do their best to support employees in a “regular” business capacity while also attempting to prevent burnout and turnover. Even if you feel you do not have the time or resources to commit to these proactive changes as an agency owner, they may end up saving you both.
So what are some solid ideas to help caregivers avoid burnout? Leading by example is up first.
Center Self-Care at the Heart of Your Agency Culture
“You can’t draw water from an empty well.” Encouraging providers to take better care of themselves during the workday will in turn, benefit everyone whose lives the business touches. Employers who encourage self-care may even see dramatic increases in employee performance. Your agency’s approach can even become very structured, wherein you design an internal Self Care “program” with rewards, buddy systems or even friendly competition. At the very least, you can simply encourage participation in self care activities and lead by example in sharing your routine including:
• Drinking plenty of water throughout the day
• Planned movement at least three times a week
• Daily meditation
• Walking breaks
• Dance breaks
• Enjoying relaxing music when and where appropriate
By showing your participation in self care, you demonstrate it is a valued principle of your agency and that it will be supported by all who participate.
Next up is to put your money where your mouth is.
Invest in Time-Saving Tech Solutions
Automation and time-saving technology are no longer an option for home care agencies who wish to remain competitive. Virtual communication solutions, automated payroll and early adoption of EVV (even before a mandate dictates) can all assist home care providers in spending less time doing paperwork. By saving them time and energy from these formerly burdensome tasks, you show you value their time. Valuing their time is a form of respect.
Providing them opportunity to authentically communicate is also a solid path to creating a supportive culture, which can go a long way in preventing burnout.
Creating an authentic communication culture can provide another core tenet to growing a healthy home care agency. Encourage a system of candid communication and be ready for providing the leadership and capacity to support this. Create a system wherein your home care providers can tell you what they are experiencing. Do this when you are in a great place during the week or business cycle to receive their feedback and be ready to lead them with follow-up solutions. Employees who feel heard are more likely to go the distance.
Encouraging pathways to continued education within the context of their career path shows you support them holistically as a valued professional.
Encouraging a Further Education
Create a positon statement on your agency’s support of continuing education and design a plan to back it. The promise of career instead of “just a job” might be the difference between retaining solid employees who feel empowered and free to grow professionally, and those who burn out. Education can take many forms, whether it is a professional development course or more traditional education. Many employees who are supported in continued education will happily go the distance for you in return.
Showing employees you value their growth and success will also go a long way.
Creating an Awards Program
Find out what motivates your employees and you will soon discover that many of them respond to acknowledgement for their hard work. Creating a program to honor and award hard-working employees not only encourages them toward what your agency values, it also provides them accolades to keep them motivated. It may seem trivial to some but acknowledgment is at the heart of what makes many hard workers keep going. People will endure a lot on behalf of your business if they know you see their continued effort. Most employees want to win, so why not show them you appreciate those wins? A small investment in an award program for your agency can go a long way in showing you care.
To recap, taking a holistic and proactive approach in valuing your team will go a long way in preventing caregiver burnout. Supported and empowered employees will also prove to be more effective caregivers and will better represent your agency brand in a positive light.