Caring for Our Caregivers during Covid-19
We all are witnessing the extraordinary courage and dedication of our nation’s healthcare workers. They face unimaginable and horrific conditions every day and somehow keep on going despite overwhelming physical and emotional challenges. They are exhausted and under-resourced and putting their lives on the line as never before. How can we as leaders really step up at this unprecedented time to truly provide them the support they so desperately need?
Covid-19’s Impact on Healthcare Workers
Gallup recently released the findings of an online survey, conducted March 13-April 14, 2020, that revealed troubling data:
- Just 47% of healthcare workers strongly agree that their employer has communicated a clear plan of action for COVID-19.
- Only 36% of healthcare workers strongly agree that they are confident they will be safe if they follow their organization's health policies.
- 78% of healthcare workers feel that COVID-19 will have a somewhat negative or very negative effect on their workplace.
This very real crisis calls for world-class people leadership. Healthcare workers need to know their leaders have their backs. If leaders want their workers to survive the crisis, they must urgently safeguard employees' needs. Leaders must facilitate healthcare workers' success.
A Thirty Day Crisis Management Plan
To care for caregivers, Gallup suggests leaders should take the following steps in the next 30 days.Communicate more meaningfully and more often.
Nearly one in five healthcare professionals (19%) feels their employer has communicated too little about COVID-19. Leaders must ensure employees know exactly what to expect. Without these expectations, employees' growing uncertainty can hinder their workplace engagement, creating performance losses that undercut even flawless surge plans.
Leaders also need to be transparent. For example, employees know that critical resources such as PPE and medical equipment are in short supply, and they need a realistic picture of what's coming. Honest leaders can promote employees’ sense of security and stability, helping them stay motivated and engaged in their work.
Innovate to better support employees.
Only 54% of healthcare employees feel well prepared to do their job, even fewer (37%) feel very confident they'll be able to successfully do their job if the outbreak continues.
As COVID-19 challenges workplaces in unprecedented ways, leaders must employ new strategies and partnerships to equip employees with the resources they need. Being able to innovate requires an extremely agile approach, which can be challenging to employ under normal circumstances. But leaders who intensely accelerate innovation can do far more than provide equipment. They can demonstrate their dedication to alleviating the pandemic's emotional toll on caregivers.
Support employee well-being holistically.
Caregivers' physical wellness is a priority for leaders. But leaders who address all five elements of employee well-being, career, social, financial, community and physical , can optimize healthcare workers' resilience during COVID-19.
In fact, Gallup found that leaders who cultivate holistic employee well-being can shield workers from burnout and promote exceptional performance. Unfortunately, only 44% of healthcare workers strongly agree their organization cares about their overall well-being, according to Gallup's data.
Employees' well-being affects their performance and engagement. Leaders who cultivate holistic employee well-being can shield workers from burnout and promote exceptional performance.
We Can Help You Do This
We have worked with some of the most outstanding healthcare organizations helping them care for their caregivers. At this time of critical need, we are willing to help you in whatever way you might need to support your healthcare heroes and lead them through this crisis. We understand your challenges and would be honored to provide you any assistance you may need. Just give us a call.