In behavioral health and human services, much focus is devoted to the patient’s overall health and well-being. But employee wellness can sometimes get overlooked by providers and employees alike due to busy work schedules, limited staffing resources, and the desire to prioritize patient care over self-care. However, employee wellness is essential for both the health of the employee and your business.
Behavioral health organizations are currently facing major struggles related to employee retention and burnout, but there are a number of simple strategies and incentives that leaders can use to combat these challenges. Find out how employee wellness can improve the lives of your patients and staff while also benefiting your bottom line.
Employee Wellness: Why It’s Essential in Behavioral Health and Human Services
A 2022 report by Gallup found that only 33% of employees are thriving in their overall well-being and that stress among workers has reached an all-time high. This presents a major challenge for employers, especially when paired with the finding that only 21% of employees are engaged at work.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines employee well-being as “the ability of individuals to address normal stresses, work productively, and realize one’s highest potential.” Not surprisingly, this isn’t always the case in high-stress settings for behavioral health and human services workers. Still, it’s paramount that employees prioritize their own health and well-being to manage their stress effectively and provide the best care possible to their patients.
In addition to better productivity and stress management, promoting employee wellness is essential for employee engagement and retention. MetLife’s 2022 U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study found that holistically healthy employees are 51% more likely to stay with their organization for another year.
Strategies for Promoting Employee Wellness
Behavioral health and human services organizations don’t always have the budget for corporate wellness programs like onsite fitness classes or massages or even lunch rooms stocked with healthy foods, but there are still many useful strategies that you can use to promote employee wellness. Here are some of the top strategies to consider.
Don’t Overload Your Staff
One of the biggest barriers to employee wellness in behavioral health care is burnout. Prior to the pandemic, the American Psychological Association estimated that 21-61% of behavioral health workers were experiencing burnout. Moreover, burnout rates have significantly increased post-pandemic due to heightened demand for services and inadequate staffing resources within the field.
In a recent study on provider burnout in counseling centers, Mantra Health found that 91.4% of respondents reported burnout and 45% of clinicians agreed or strongly agreed that their workload compromises their ability to provide quality care. Behavioral health leaders must be very cognizant of the workload that they place on employees in order to prevent or reduce burnout.
One way to boost employee wellness and avoid overloading your staff is to closely manage staffing levels and hire additional team members promptly when needed. ContinuumCloud’s Position Control feature provides a clearer view of hiring needs and vacancies within a company’s workforce. Administrators can also closely track hours worked in real-time to identify employees or departments that are regularly going over their budgeted hours and may need some extra help.
Another helpful tool for tracking employee workloads is electronic health record (EHR) software. For instance, ContinuumCloud’s clinical care management tools include scheduling and caseload management functions to help you properly distribute your company’s workload. The clinical care management features allow managers to easily view and manage caseloads to prevent overbooking providers.
Encourage Employees to Take Time Off When They Need It
In addition to ensuring that employees have a manageable workload, encouraging the use of paid time off (PTO) can also help prevent burnout. Since behavioral health facilities are often short-staffed, employees can often feel pressured to come in even when they really need a day off.
This scenario can lead to employee burnout and also be a safety hazard for the employee and their patients. After all, employees are more likely to make mistakes or get injured if they’re not feeling well due to illness, exhaustion, or other personal factors. Burnout also tends to lead to high rates of absenteeism, which can be costly in more ways than one. With this in mind, allowing employees a bit of time off when they start to feel burnt out or in need of extra rest can help you reduce absences in the long term.
Creating a company culture that supports work-life balance and taking time off when necessary is an important step in promoting employee wellness. One way to encourage employees to use their PTO is to make the request process simple and readily available. By choosing a user-friendly human capital management (HCM) platform like ContinuumCloud with strong employee self-service features, you can make it easy for employees to view their available PTO balance and schedule time off when they need a break.
Provide a Strong Employee Benefits Package
Employee benefits not only help you attract and retain top talent, but they also promote employee wellness. Behavioral health and human services workers spend their workdays taking care of others, but they also need access to care for themselves—especially in an industry that can be incredibly demanding both physically and mentally.
In addition to common benefits like health plans, employers should also consider extra wellness benefits such as discounted fitness center memberships and employee assistance programs. Employee assistance programs in particular are a great tool for employee wellness. They provide employees with access to a number of wellness resources, including health coaching, mental health counseling, weight management tools, smoking cessation support, and health screenings such as blood pressure checks.
In addition to offering a strong benefits package, it’s also important to provide an easy-to-navigate benefits enrollment process. ContinuumCloud’s benefits administration tools make it easy for employees to review available benefits offerings, compare healthcare costs, and find the benefits plan that’s right for them. This is essential as your benefits offerings are only valuable if employees know about them and use them.
ContinuumCloud also offers helpful reminders to employees and human resources throughout the benefits enrollment process to ensure that key enrollment deadlines are not missed.
Celebrate Your Team’s Contributions
Your employees work hard, and recognizing and celebrating that hard work can have a big impact on employee wellness and morale. One way to do that is through employee engagement tools such as the Shout Out feature in ContinuumCloud’s HCM platform. Shout Outs is a peer-to-peer employee recognition tool that allows team members to encourage each other.
Employees can choose to give a “high five” or “fist bump” for a collaborative message or a “shout out” or “kudos” for more straightforward recognition purposes. These small but mighty interactions allow employees to recognize and celebrate their co-workers’ accomplishments, thus creating a more supportive, collaborative, and positive work environment.
Communicate Proactively With Your Team
One easy change that business leaders can make to reduce stress within their organization is to start communicating more proactively. Uncertainty breeds stress and that can take a toll on employee wellness and morale. Keeping everyone in the loop can be challenging with dispersed teams, but ContinuumCloud’s HCM platform offers a convenient solution called Company News.
The Company News feature allows leaders or human resources team members to share news with the whole company or with specific departments to keep everyone informed and connected. The wellness committee can also use this communication tool to share news on new workplace wellness challenges, such as step challenges to encourage physical activity, provide tips on healthy eating and how to live a healthy lifestyle, or invite employees to upcoming worksite wellness seminars or webinars.
Promote Professional Development
Including professional development in your employee wellness initiatives is a great way to boost retention and tap into the more human side of people management. ContinuumCloud offers robust talent management capabilities to support your employees’ professional growth including individual and team goal-setting, continuous feedback tools, and easy check-in scheduling.
These tools help you communicate more frequently with employees regarding their professional goals and learning interests. Having regular check-ins also provides managers with time to check in with employees about their workload, stress levels, and overall wellness.
Learn How ContinuumCloud Can Support Your Employee Wellness Goals
Employee wellness doesn’t just impact the individual but it also affects every aspect of your organization. Fortunately, the right digital tools can support your employee wellness program and help you maintain a healthier, happier workforce overall.
ContinuumCloud’s unified HCM software offers an easy-to-navigate, all-in-one solution that was created specifically for those in behavioral health and human services. Self-service functions make it easy for employees to access their benefits and ask for time off when they need it, plus employee engagement features encourage them to recognize fellow team members. Meanwhile, features like Position Control, clinical care management, and benefits administration make it much more convenient for administrators to stay on top of essential tasks.
Contact us today to learn more about how ContinuumCloud can help you promote workplace wellness and improve employee health and well-being.