The worries of healthcare workers
Healthcare workers have carried a heavy load throughout the course of the COVID crisis. They've been tasked with caring for their communities, even while they're at risk of harming their own health. And in the midst of it all, they still have financial obligations and families to consider.
In these circumstances, burnout becomes a predictable byproduct. Even before the pandemic, MetLife research revealed that 64% of healthcare employers ranked burnout as the top challenge in 2020, up from 51% in 2019.
COVID brought additional stressors to healthcare workers, including financial concerns. More than half of healthcare workers said they were more concerned about their finances in the wake of the pandemic. Burnout and stress aren't ideal for employee well-being—and they're an organizational challenge as well. According to the MetLife study, stressed employees are also less engaged and less productive at work.
The power of holistic wellness
Given the risk of continued stress, healthcare employers may want to explore a new approach to employee wellness. Holistic well-being strategies address employees' physical, mental, social, and financial health—a game-changing combination for workers and employers alike.
Currently, one in three healthcare employees says they're holistically well (that is well in each of those four areas). However, there's a direct connection between employees that report they're holistically well and their overall happiness and success.
In a MetLife survey, healthcare workers who said that they were holistically well were also more engaged, productive, loyal, successful, respected, and valued. What's more, they're far less likely to say they're stressed or burned out.
Closing the wellness gap
Now more than ever, healthcare workers need support from their employers. And benefits provide a way for employers to help their workers decrease their stress and improve all aspects of their health. Consider that a comprehensive benefits package is the number three driver of holistic well-being.
But when it comes to providing employees with access to benefits that can have a meaningful impact on their health, finances, and family—healthcare employers have some work to do. Four out of 10 healthcare employees say their employers don't provide health or mental health benefits that meet their needs.
So what do healthcare employees want? Primarily a range of benefits and the ability to create plans that address their specific concerns, pandemic-related and otherwise. For example, healthcare employees ranked more paid-time-off, work-from-home policies, flexible schedules, and emergency hardship assistance as benefits that would reduce their stress the most during the COVID crisis. They also prioritized mental wellness programs.
Disability insurance provides significant relief to workers concerned about how an illness may impact their finances. In fact, healthcare workers with disability insurance reported better work performance and financial outcomes than those that don't have the coverage.
Meanwhile, healthcare professionals are increasingly interested in financial wellness programs and other emerging benefits, which can help fill in coverage gaps and contribute to employee well-being.
Healthcare organizations have experienced firsthand the multiple impacts of the pandemic. To recover the workforce needs support, care, and help to navigate a healthy path forward. Those who take a comprehensive approach to employee wellness will ensure that their workforce is as healthy as possible—and primed to perform in the future.