Benefits and Compensation

How to Alleviate Burnout: A Look into the Healthcare Industry

As burnout continues to weaken the workforce at hospitals across the country, CEOs must take action to create a sustainable environment for their employees.

According to more than 20,000 physicians and more than 32,000 nurses surveyed for a KLAS Arch Collaborative report, improving staffing and aligning leadership with staff were the number one and number two solutions, respectively, for addressing burnout.

Here’s a look at the top six methods chosen by respondents:

Improve Staffing

The clear choice for both nurses and physicians, it’s no surprise that staffing should be a priority for CEOs.

Not only do hospital leaders have to be willing to add to their workforce, but they also must think of ways to bolster recruitment and hiring strategies.

The hiring process especially shouldn’t be overlooked, according to Memorial Regional Hospital South CEO Phil Wright, who advises having efficiency and cultural fit in mind when bringing on new staff.

Align Leadership with Workers

Respondents also share the belief that leadership needs to better support staff.

To do that, CEOs should strive to create an environment where their physicians and nurses feel like they are heard and cared for. Concerns falling on deaf ears is a surefire way to alienate workers and have them considering walking out the door.

Provide Better Pay

Not everything can be solved with money, but increasing pay can go a long way to making staff—nurses in particular—feel like they are properly compensated for their work.

Even though CEOs everywhere are aiming to cut down on labor costs, investing in your people can help reduce turnover, which will save on the bottom line in the long run.

That’s why 70% of hospitals have implemented or increased sign-on bonuses in the past year, while 59% increased new hire pay, 54% increased their minimum wage scales, and 52% increased or added referral bonus programs, according to a recent survey by Aon.

Improve EHR Efficiency

Many physicians and some nurses report that they are doing more with fewer resources due to their experiences with EHR.

To improve efficiency, CEOs should consider providing EHR education and personalization tools to optimize workflows, as well as exploring partnerships with vendor and service firms.

Decrease Workload

Bringing in enough staff to handle the workload is necessary, but it’s not addressing the root of the problem: reducing the amount of work.

That’s something AtlantiCare Health System CEO Michael Charlton believes is a must for hospital leaders to truly address workforce challenges.

Part of the solution may lie in technology and its ability to automate tasks that would otherwise be done manually. However, it requires CEOs be proactive by investing in and implementing technology to take the burden off their staff.

Provide Better Wellness Benefits

Going back to the idea of leaders investing in their workers, simply increasing pay is not necessarily enough.

Physicians and nurses want better benefits to feel like they are rewarded outside of how they’re compensated.

In response, many hospitals have stepped up their benefits. The aforementioned survey by Aon found that 95% of hospitals are offering tuition reimbursement programs, 93% are offering flexible work options, 84% are offering personal leave, 80% are offering financial/wellness planning, 64% are offering gender-affirming benefits, 57% are offering enhanced behavioral health benefits, and 53% are offering paid parental leave beyond state and city mandates.

Understanding what it is that their clinical staff want can allow CEOs to implement the right changes to keep their workers happy and in place for the long haul.

Jay Asser is the contributing editor for strategy at HealthLeaders. 

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