...And Then Came Covid 19
For over 22 years, I have had the privilege of serving America’s heroic healthcare professionals and their healthcare employers and systems. Over the course of those two decades, the healthcare industry has had, year after year, the highest demand for skilled workers. And this demand will only continue to increase for the foreseeable future.
And then came COVID.
Healthcare systems and workers, most already facing staffing challenges, had to, overnight, become even greater superheroes of professional care and personal sacrifice.
Reflecting upon what specific, results-based consultative advice I might offer this industry to which I have been professionally and personally endeared, I realized that I wouldn’t change any of the strategies and approaches I have shared for so many years. These concepts are universal and poignantly powerful. And needed now, more than ever.
- Hypercommunicate to build trust. During times of change and stress (COVID has certainly brought extreme levels of unforeseen stress and change), leaders must forever be communicating, communicating and communicating. Daily communications, from the highest levels of administration, via email, video messaging, department meetings, social media. Allow for all-way communications with all staff, to ask questions and share thoughts. Hypercommunicating is exceptionally effective in elevating trust, team collaboration and quality outcomes.
- Deliver Genuine, Heartfelt Recognition and Appreciation. First responders are receiving outpourings of appreciation and thanks from across the globe during the coronavirus crisis. But it must also come from the C-Suite and leaders of their individual workplaces. Ideas include handwritten, personal notes, gift cards for relevant items such as groceries. Employee of the Day/Week/Month in each department, time off, free meals. Create a unique hashtag and use social media platforms to recognize their efforts. Contact your local media outlets (TV, radio and print) to devote time to thanking and recognizing the staff. Also thank the families of healthcare workers, who are supporting the efforts of their dedicated family member.
- Proactively prepare for the next crisis. Officially document what went well, and what definitely did not, as it pertains to your staff’s engagement, concerns, morale and retention during COVID. Develop best practices and continue to hypercommunicate, even after the full throes of COVID have waned in our country, and your healthcare organization.
Demand for healthcare workers will continue to increase. The healthcare employers (administrators, leaders and staff) who really stepped up their focus, and understood that building trust with their workers during this crisis, will be way out in front during the continued war on talent.
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