Wellness plans bring many benefits to your healthcare institution, such as reducing the risk of burnout and reducing absenteeism. However, you face many challenges that stand between you and implementing a plan. Healthcare organizations often struggle with understaffing, resistance from employees and a lack of resources to distribute the plan. If you're not sure how to get started with a wellness plan, use this guide to build a strong foundation.
Key Items for a Successful Wellness Plan
If you want your wellness program to succeed, you need a good communication plan in place. When you have a way to provide information about the process, gather feedback from employees, and make it easy to access resources, you can improve your chances of staff being onboard with this program.
Before you expect healthcare employees to embrace a new wellness plan, you need to get support from leadership. Start your buy-in campaign at the top and then work your way through the rest of the organization. Many staff members take their cues from direct supervisors, managers, and other leaders. You can improve your change management with this approach.
Structure your wellness program so the activities fit into the typical employee's schedule. You can't pull them away from their essential duties for a half hour or more. When you create a wellness plan that takes this into account, you can provide bite-size activities that can be accessed at their convenience. To start, try to break things down into 5-10 minutes, maximum. It might take longer for your staff to go through certain wellness activities, but they do still get done.
The First Five Steps to Begin a Wellness Plan
- Take stock of your healthcare institution. You can't start improving employee wellness before you know what the baseline is. During this assessment, consider the type of wellness plan that makes the most sense for your organization.
- Research the benefits that a wellness program brings to healthcare institutions. You can improve staff satisfaction, reduce physician and nurse burnout, and create a better work environment for employees.
- Consider the infrastructure required for supporting the wellness plan. You need a way to give staff members information on the plan, how it benefits them and the activities associated with it. You may choose to set up a staff portal for this purpose or create wellness handbooks.
- Get an objective measurement of everyone's well-being with a test such as the Well-Being Index.
- Talk to employees and get their feedback on your proposed wellness plan. You don't want to implement a strategy without getting direct input from the people most affected by it. Make sure to incorporate this feedback into the plan.
How Long to Evaluate Your Wellness Plan
Wellness plans won't work their magic overnight. It takes time to get healthcare employees on board with the new program and you may have to work your way through some resistance and lack of buy-in. Gather data for a few months to give it a fair chance at succeeding.
So, What Are the Next Steps?
After the first few months of your wellness program, look at your data and determine what's working well and what needs to be changed. You want to continually improve the wellness plan so it's always serving your staff members. Over time, you end up with a finely tuned wellness plan that's perfect for the unique needs of your healthcare institution.