Over the years, we have seen our healthcare clients focus on improving the patient experience through greater use of technology. While technology is important, there’s an even greater low-tech way to improve the patient experience: through staff. The demand for talented support staff has not ceased and will be increasingly important as the shortages of nonphysician positions, including front and back-office support, will continue to plague healthcare employers in the years to come. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that healthcare occupations in the U.S. will grow 18 percent by 2026, accounting for nearly a third of the total projected increase in jobs.
Given that backdrop, it’s critical for you to do everything in your power to ensure that staff members feel supported and are happy at your practice. Take some time this Labor Day to show your support staff how much you appreciate their contributions. Nonclinical staff who feel more appreciated will, in turn, provide a better foundation to clinicians so they can deliver quality patient care.
Here are three ways you can demonstrate your appreciation for your staff this Labor Day—and every day.
Commit to creating an inclusive workplace
Toxic work relationships are often cited as a top reason why employees leave. Employees seek out opportunities that exude great leadership practice and a positive, engaging work culture. As a leader, your goal should be to create a supportive work environment where everyone’s voice is heard, opinions are considered, and value to the practice is evident. Most importantly, strategize ways you can provide your staff with a safe space to share workplace concerns as well as suggestions.
Consider offering flex schedules
A tight labor market and economic growth have left healthcare facilities in fierce competition for talent. Many practices and medical facilities are understaffed, and overworked employees are consequently burning out. Considering that fatigue increases the likelihood of on-the-job errors, leaders need to embrace different types of work arrangements. A recent Randstad US survey found both clinical and nonclinical healthcare employees are eager to have the option to occasionally work from home. While working remotely may not be feasible for some roles, offering greater flexibility around scheduling can help alleviate fatigue and improve work-life balance.
Reward and recognize your staff
Healthcare support occupations have a lower than average annual wage compared to all U.S. occupations. Review the practice’s earnings and, if you can afford it, offer pay increases. Not sure what you should be paying? Find your state and compare salary benchmarks using a salary guide. Pay is a great motivator when tied to individual performance, but recognition and praise can also go a long way, especially if you can’t afford to increase wages. Encourage management and staff to share peer appreciation with each other during meetings.
Great leaders are reflected in positive work environments, engaged employees, and efficient operations. Showing support staff they are appreciated is an effective way to reduce employee turnover and ultimately save both time and effort to recruit and train new employees. After all, great support staff helps keep things humming efficiently, enabling health practitioners to focus on what they do best — providing excellent patient care.
Traci Fiatte is CEO of Professional and Commercial Staffing, where she is responsible for the strategic direction and business operations of multiple Randstad US businesses. Traci has nearly 20 years of industry experience and has been recognized by Staffing Industry Analysts in their Global Power 100 Women in Staffing list and the Global 100 Staffing list.