By Jon Maddison, Managing Director EMEA – Achievers (www.achievers.com)
While employees in virtually every industry have been affected by changes to their working conditions as a result of COVID-19, those in the healthcare sector have suffered more than most. Not only have they had to deal with restrictions and procedures linked to social distancing and reducing the spread of the virus for close to a year, they’ve also had to look after those affected by the disease, often without sufficient levels of PPE or enough specialist equipment to provide adequate care.
In these trying circumstances, it’s only natural that some healthcare professionals will eventually feel the strain to such a degree that their mental health will suffer and their performance will be negatively impacted. Managers in the healthcare sector will be keenly aware of the enormous stress currently experienced by their staff, and are likely to be searching for ways in which they can empower their workforce and equip people with tools to help them through such a demanding period.
The power of peer-to-peer recognition
One of the easiest methods of nurturing organisational values and encouraging desired behaviours is through an online peer-to-peer recognition and celebration platform. These tools enable managers to recognise and thank employees who have delivered examples of high-quality care, but they also allow all team members, regardless of job role and seniority, to celebrate great work carried out by their colleagues.
More importantly, these acts of appreciation happen online where they can be seen and commented on by every employee in the organisation. Whereas these acts may previously have occurred in silos, they now take place transparently.
Aside from shining a light on a job well done, recognition programmes can be used to celebrate individual
moments that matter – birthdays, anniversaries and other milestones – which helps to bring teams closer together and improves morale.
Similarly, once an individual piece of work has been highlighted, it can then serve as a template for care- givers and contribute to the standardisation of the patient experience.
Using recognition platforms to drive additional programmes
With no clear light discernable at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel for the immediate future, managers will be focused on driving a culture of resilience in their organisations. Modern recognition software gives man- agers the chance to arm their staff with techniques to support their mental wellbeing, and combat stress and burnout. Such platformscan be adapted to deliver e-learning courses and worksheets that provide a frame- work for building and improving resilience. When implemented successfully, these initiatives help to reduce rates of sickness and absenteeism, and ultimately lower turnover.
Another valuable feature of online recognition platforms is the ability to offer real-time feedback mechanisms. In contrast to the traditional annual staff survey, these mechanisms give managers a better understanding of employee engagement levels at different times of the year. Creating a continuous listening channel also facilitates the surfacing of day-to-day issues which require immediate attention, a critical component in a patient-centred workforce.
The flexibility of digital recognition platforms allows them to be used for all manner of initiatives, from driving operational efficiencies to cultivating a culture of “near miss” reporting. But their main benefit lies in their ability to improve organisational culture and empower healthcare professionals to tackle the most trying of circumstances with resilience and confidence.