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Microsoft

Written by Shawn Remacle, Director of Industry Engagement 

 

As someone who has worked in and around health organizations for over 22 years, I have seen my fair share of individuals who epitomize the old saying: “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” They are resilient people. However, every employee’s spirit will be tested in this difficult time by the volume and pace of work, uncertainty or just “being outside their comfort zone.” As leaders, your natural inclination will be to sustain your staff’s resilience, even as you personally face new challenges in managing team engagement and workday structure.

Over the past few weeks, health organizations have moved quickly to eliminate technological and procedural obstacles to supply needed capabilities such as virtual patient communication and working remotely. Given that your workforce is facing unprecedented challenges, leaders may also want to consider using virtual tools in the following ways to support employee well-being.

Provide emotional support

All employees, but especially care team members, need an outlet to debrief and unwind from an increasingly emotionally charged and stressful work environment. Options to consider include:

  • Connecting to “Emotional Support” teams where staff can quickly call or chat with an individual counselor/therapist from a pool of designated support resources to process difficult experiences. Small to medium sized companies (less than 5,000 employees) might consider joining all employees to an org-wide support team while larger organizations may choose to opt in members to facility, departmental, or role-specific (ex: Nursing) support teams.
  • Assign peer buddies within your teams to provide mutual support and a daily check-in on well-being. As a people manager, this will also help you to distribute some of your workload.
  • Out of sight but not out of mind – in scenarios where you may have self-isolating employees not in the work/care setting, keep them plugged in to your virtual team environment.

Quickly surface concerns and issues

Considering the disruption to normal work routines, leaders may benefit from an enterprise social platform that can flatten management connections with their workforce. This can help with:

  • collecting and responding quickly to emergent employee issues and concerns
  • maintaining organizational transparency by sharing information regularly
  • empowering employees to easily connect with others across the organization who have common needs
  • tapping into your company’s collective knowledge to find an answer to a pressing problem

Reestablish team camaraderie

Many teams accustomed to working in the same workspace under the same work schedules are now trying to adjust to asynchronous work and remote collaboration. Meanwhile, caregivers are confronting fast-paced environments and long shifts that can limit meaningful interaction and connection within their units. Encourage your team leaders and employees to:

  • upload and deliver positive 1-minute video stories – staff who are making a difference, celebrate patient/staff/organizational successes, co-workers helping each other, ABCD (Above and Beyond the Call of Duty).
  • share funny (but work-appropriate) memes, GIFs, stories - laughter can be an effective escape from anxiety.
  • send Praise to people and ignite viral recognition.
  • initiate virtual coffee breaks – create time for a video group check-in where work and schedules are NOT the topic.
  • augment your “managing by walking around” capabilities – post pictures with team members who are still in the work environment or a quick video catching a team member helping others.

Providing support, organizational listening and team connection can play a vital role in reducing the stress and anxiety your staff may be experiencing. Virtual tools and experiences can contribute as a central part of your strategy to protect your employee's resilience.

 

- Shawn Remacle, Director of Industry Engagement

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