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Reviews and Recognition as a Tool to Avoid Staff Burnout

In a pandemic, priorities shift. For healthcare providers, that has meant a finite focus on patient care and employee safety, along with a daily realignment of staff to handle the most urgent care needs. This narrowing of operations has also meant that many procedures and processes, such as ongoing performance evaluations and annual reviews, have been modified or, in some cases, put completely on hold. Providers are realizing that neglecting these assessments is not optimal for the long term—and they’re starting to reimagine how to improve them when nothing seems normal.

This blog post excerpts an article from HealthStream, Performance Management Turned Upside Down, that features HealthStream’s Brad Weeks, Director, Performance Platform Solutions, and Megan Gibson, Manager, Success Management. This article explores how the COVID-19 pandemic has made healthcare organizations even more aware of the importance of improving performance evaluations and employee reviews at a time when nothing is normal about performance management in healthcare.

Reviews and Recognition as a Tool to Avoid Staff Burnout

“Even though assessments may not have been top of mind across an enterprise, there is also a keen awareness that employees deserve recognition for the incredible lengths they are going in terms of adaptability, flexibility, and providing successful patient care in an unprecedented time. That means finding a way to complete assessments on the fly and recognizing that in-flux operations are the status quo for the foreseeable future” Gibson says.

A lot of people have moved from ‘Let’s talk about the values of our hospital’ to ‘Tell me how you’re doing. How are you feeling in your role? What are your challenges? How can I help you?’ Administrators and managers want to transition to a more conversational type of assessment. They want the employee to feel engaged and feel that they have somebody in their corner, because now, more than ever, that affects not only engagement and retention, but also patient care. And that, Weeks adds, neatly defines the difference between reviews and assessments pre COVID-19, how they are evolving now—and how they will likely be done in the future.

Consider the business operations of organizations that had to take staff and replace or reposition them into other areas. Those people have had to immediately learn new skills and procedures. Then they had to get feedback every single day on if they are performing these new tasks appropriately, because if not, there would be adverse patient outcomes. Providers and their employees have shown a lot of adaptability, and that’s going to start making its way into the performance review process. “Many providers had already begun to look at how they were assessing employees, particularly new ones, during the onboarding process,” Gibson says. What COVID-19 has done is accelerate that trend.

In 2019, organizations began to vocalize their want to reimagine what performance meant to them. To get more feedback, especially from new employees, and also have a continuous feedback loop throughout the year vs. annually. They want to show that they understand the impact COVID-19 has had on their people and they’re looking for ways to keep them engaged and make sure that they feel heard and cared for.

Other posts in this series will include:

  • The Impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare Performance Reviews
  • Goal Setting Takes on New Importance as Job Responsibilities Shift
  • The Performance-Review Journey Will Continue to Evolve

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