Stopping Disengagement Before It Starts

We know the ties between patient experience and employee engagement are clear. We also know disengagement can wreak havoc on patient experience and team morale.

I hear from many leaders that feel powerless to help their staff in the face of the never-ending healthcare shortages and ongoing surges in community need. Burnout does not happen overnight, though. No one wakes up one day, reports for their shift, and says, “Today, I stop caring about my work.” 

While no one can singlehandedly fix a department shortage, there are some things you can do to ease burnout and disengagement in other ways before it reaches crisis level and affects the organization’s bottom line. To do this, though, you have to be able to spot the little, day-to-day signs of disengagement so that you can act.

Recognizing Disengagement

There is a wide range of signs that you should be alert to:

  • Increase in the number of errors
  • Apathy or lack of interest
  • Decreased empathy for patients and coworkers
  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Short temper—appearing overwhelmed
  • Physical symptoms can also be a sign: increased incidents of illness, headaches, etc.

It’s important not only for leaders to understand and be alert to the signs of burnout but also that leaders train managers, supervisors, and all staff to be alert to the signs.

How Leaders Impact Burnout

Leaders set a tone for the culture, so be mindful of your actions.

  1. Leaders lay the foundation for an environment and culture that minimizes burnout and model through their behaviors. Healthily managing your stress goes a long way to setting the tone for the team.
  2. Leaders can also help staff members and clinicians recognize and understand the signs of burnout. They should encourage staff to be alert to those signs and not be ashamed to admit when stress taking a toll. They should also have regular one-on-one coaching discussions to help individuals connect, or reconnect, to purpose, and discuss burnout and coping strategies.

To learn more about how to stop disengagement in its tracks, consider our 8-week course, Be the Leader Nobody Wants to Leave. In this course, we teach the 8 skill builders every leader needs to boost engagement. Sign up today, or contact us for a free 30-minute consultation

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