Podcast: episode 66

Jul 20, 2020

Offering Support to Employees Amid the Pandemic

Offering Support to Employees Amid the Pandemic Featuring Dr. Francoise Adan of University Hospitals

Takeaways The response to the workforce wellbeing amid COVID-19 involved creating a new initiative — leveraging existing resources at the very beginning of the pandemic and then adding some additional services later on. It was clear that employees needed support for their emotional needs, so in response, University Hospitals offered: A call center for on-demand…

Takeaways

  • The response to the workforce wellbeing amid COVID-19 involved creating a new initiative — leveraging existing resources at the very beginning of the pandemic and then adding some additional services later on.
    • It was clear that employees needed support for their emotional needs, so in response, University Hospitals offered:
      • A call center for on-demand support.
      • A digital library containing helpful resources.
      • Free webinars and classes (Yoga, meditation, leadership/management).
      • A Crisis Intervention Team.
      • “Lavender Rooms” with massage chairs to create a quiet, calming space to relax and reset.
      • Daily emails with important news and encouraging stories.

Accessing Resources

  • University Hospitals focused on offering support that was not connected to HR in order to provide a neutral space.
    • It’s important to be a role model in making sure there is a buy-in from the top leadership by using and talking about the services you offer.
  • Most of the resources are offered in an online portal, but not every University Hospitals employee has a company computer.
    • So we also send daily emails short enough so that they can be printed and shared by supervisors or managers.
    • This has been most effective when there is a change in shift for nurses as well as changes in cooking and cleaning crews.

Breaking the Mental Health Stigma for Healthcare Workers

  • The focus for us is on prevention and building resilience.
    • The goal is to let employees know that you genuinely care.
  • In terms of communication, we must tell the stories of how others are building resilience and how they face and conquer adversity.

Tips for Wave Two of COVID-19

  • It’s important to validate your employee’s fears and concerns before you ever offer solutions.
    • The first step is to make sure that we listen to them.

Communication Tools

  • We use multiple modes of communication.
    • The daily email is very short and very different from any other emails that people are receiving.
    • We work hard to try to avoid additional files and any repetition.
    • It’s delivered early in the morning so it can be printed, posted, and shared.
  • We’ve also hosted town halls, webinars on zoom, and YouTube videos.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Internal Communications

  • We track the open rates of our emails, attendance to our classes and webinars, and the usage of the call center and the Crisis Intervention Team.
  • We have different kinds of rewards/recognitions to boost morale and participation.
    • In the weekly email, we highlight workers in our “hero interviews”.
      • These are individuals that stand out and bring a great sense of team spirit.
    • For our classes, employees get points for attending, which ultimately awards money.
      • There is a maximum amount of points per quarter.