Employee Engagement Tools and Strategies for Behavioral Health

Employee happily carrying a tablet

Behavioral health leaders have a lot to focus on. They have to juggle limited budgets and staffing shortages, all while ensuring exemplary patient care outcomes. However, it’s crucial not to overlook employee engagement, even when it feels like you’re being pulled in a million different directions. Employee engagement helps you retain your staff and encourages employees to deliver excellent patient care. After all, research shows a link between engaged healthcare workers and better patient safety. 

Keeping your workforce engaged can be a large task, especially when you have remote employees or otherwise dispersed staff. Thankfully, there are many employee engagement tools available to help simplify the process. Find out how to maintain a strong connection with your employees no matter where they are and leverage an employee engagement solution to boost satisfaction among providers and, ultimately, patients.

Why Employee Engagement Is Essential in Behavioral Health

Employee engagement tools: employee talking to a doctor

In ContinuumCloud’s 2022 Tech Experiences Report, it was found that employee retention, engagement, and recruiting were the top priorities for HR and operations leaders in the behavioral health field. This is not surprising as employee engagement provides a number of key benefits, such as:

  • More productivity: Engaged employees tend to be more motivated and productive at work. Since behavioral health organizations have limited resources and staffing budgets, it’s especially important to build a work culture that keeps employees engaged and productive so that they can best serve their patients and get things done.
  • Better patient care: Engaged employees don’t just get more done, they also produce a higher quality of work. This is particularly true in the behavioral health field. Patients are often going through a challenging time when they meet with a behavioral health or human services worker. A patient who meets with a happy and attentive staff member will feel more positively about the interaction than if they met with someone who seemed stressed out, unhappy, or disengaged. By providing a positive employee experience, you can help your team provide a positive patient experience.
  • Lower employee turnover: Employees who are engaged are more likely to stay with a company. When team members feel valued and have adequate growth opportunities, they're more inclined to stick around. Employee turnover can be costly for employers, as they need to dedicate resources to hiring, onboarding, and training a replacement and deal with lowered productivity and output until the new hire gets up to speed. Therefore, investing in employee engagement programs and tools can actually save you money in the long run.

The best employee engagement software platforms will be able to help you improve employee well-being, engagement, and retention in your workplace as long as you're willing to put in the work and prioritize employee engagement.

Employee Engagement Tools and Strategies

Employee engagement tools: employee using a laptop

Improving employee engagement takes time. It often requires ongoing efforts and a shift in company culture. However, there are a number of employee engagement tools that you can start using right away to take action now and start working on your employee engagement strategy.

Improve Internal Communications

Maintaining regular communication with your employees is one of the simplest yet most effective employee engagement tools. In particular, many remote workers can feel disconnected and disengaged if their employers aren't adequately proactive in conducting regular check-ins and keeping them in the loop on relevant company-wide changes or updates. 

As behavioral health organizations continue shifting to telehealth, consistent communication is key to ensuring employees feel connected to the company and their team members. One way to do this is to utilize a tech tool to streamline employee communications. 

ContinuumCloud’s human capital management (HCM) software includes a company news feature that allows employers to easily share information and news across the organization. Leaders or department managers can also use company news to share announcements with specific departments. 

Reduce Burnout By Improving Workforce Management

The ongoing labor shortages can be a pain for managers and administrators, but they also have a huge impact on your employees. In the 2022 Engagement and Retention Report from Achievers Workforce Institute, 41% of employees reported that they felt the impact of labor shortages at their jobs during the pandemic and Great Resignation. 

These labor shortages occurred in many industries, but the behavioral health field often struggles with this issue more than standard for-profit industries. Employees reported that they had to work longer hours and take on extra tasks due to labor shortages, which can quickly lead to burnout and disengagement.

To prevent this, behavioral health agencies must properly allocate their staffing resources and hire extra help when necessary. Tools like ContinuumCloud’s HCM platform can help leaders track labor needs and hours in real-time to obtain actionable insights and enhance workforce management. If employees in a specific department, program, or work location are accruing unusual amounts of overtime, that might be a sign that you need to hire a new employee or reallocate staff from another department to help out. 

If you carefully track these real-time insights and metrics and act on them promptly, you can help prevent burnout and make your employees feel more supported, which in turn will help keep them engaged.

Recognize Your Employees’ Efforts With Shout Outs

Employee engagement tools: employees watching something on a laptop

According to research from Harvard Business School, over 80% of employees don't feel recognized or rewarded by their employers. Acknowledgment from upper management, as well as peer-to-peer recognition, is an excellent way to boost employee satisfaction and let team members know that their hard work doesn't go unnoticed.

ContinuumCloud’s HCM platform includes a built-in employee recognition feature called Shout Outs. This online recognition program allows individuals to recognize their peers for their help or accomplishments. This feature can be used to acknowledge milestones such as work anniversaries, promotions, or obtaining a new credential. Shout Outs can also be used to give kudos to employees who went above and beyond to help out a team member or a patient, thereby encouraging teamwork and building a more supportive work environment.

Leaders can also provide incentives to encourage employees to participate. For example, you may raffle off a gift card at the end of the month and count each Shout Out as one raffle entry.

Step Up Your Performance Management Strategy

Performance management should be an integral part of your employee management strategy. When done correctly, employee performance management can help motivate and engage your team by giving them goals to work towards, professional development opportunities related to their interest areas, and another source of employee recognition.

ContinuumCloud’s HCM platform makes it easy for employers to create goals related to performance, provide ongoing feedback, and schedule performance reviews. Regular performance reviews and check-ins also provide opportunities to solicit employee feedback. During one-on-one meetings, you can dig deeper into staff member thoughts and sentiments. Listening to your employees and acting on their feedback not only shows that you care about them but it also helps them feel more involved in the company. 

This is particularly relevant when dealing with dispersed teams. Remote, offsite, or hybrid employees often aren’t included in all of the informal conversations or meetings that may take place at the main office. As such, managers and HR teams must carve out time to solicit feedback from these employees who may have fewer opportunities to share their thoughts and often have a different employee experience than other staff members. 

For instance, the employee sentiment at your main location might be great, but that doesn’t always mean your remote staff is feeling adequately supported and engaged. Check in with them regularly and collect feedback through pulse surveys, employee engagement survey questions, and one-on-ones so you can accurately gauge sentiment and create an action plan to address any areas of concern. 

Provide a Better Employee Experience

The employee experience is a key area that correlates to employee engagement. Small frustrations such as a poor onboarding process, frequent timeclock glitches or issues, or an outdated employee portal can add up and culminate in a poor employee experience. To counteract this issue, it’s a good idea to make sure that all of your human resources software is up-to-date and user-friendly. 

Due to the nature of behavioral health and human services work, it’s also important to choose a tool that provides a good mobile app. Employees in these fields aren’t necessarily sitting at a desk all day. They may be doing client visits in the field, working from home to serve patients through telehealth, or trying to clock in as quickly as possible so that they can tend to patients in a fast-paced hospital setting. 

Cloud-based systems with mobile functionality can allow your employees to clock in quickly, submit timesheets in a snap, and review their pay stubs or benefits data from anywhere. Using a convenient and state-of-the-art mobile workforce management solution allows for a better experience at work.

Engage Your Workforce With ContinuumCloud

Keeping your team engaged throughout the entire employee lifecycle can help your business succeed. Employee engagement must be a top priority for all businesses, but it's especially pertinent for those in behavioral health and human services. ContinuumCloud’s unified HCM solution provides helpful employee engagement tools that can help you engage your team and boost employee morale. The best part is that it’s a fully unified solution, which means your employees don’t need to worry about logging into a separate employee engagement platform, payroll platform, benefits platform, or performance management platform.

ContinuumCloud’s HCM system was built with behavioral health and human services organizations in mind. With a robust set of features and integrations, you can use it to address the unique challenges of managing a behavioral health team, including labor shortages, remote work, and more. Contact us to learn how ContinuumCloud can help your organization improve employee engagement today.

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