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The Leadership First Approach™ to Employee Retention in Healthcare Settings

Employee retention in healthcare is a critical aspect often overshadowed by the prevalent discourse around burnout. While burnout is undeniably a significant factor contributing to the departure of valuable healthcare professionals, I advocate for a deeper examination of its roots. In many instances, the source of burnout can be traced back to leadership decisions, or the lack thereof.

Undoubtedly, some employees may find themselves incompatible with the healthcare setting, reaching a point of burnout due to the inherent challenges. However, it is crucial to recognize that burnout is not a fate but a challenge that can be effectively addressed and reduced through thoughtful leadership initiatives.

Let’s dissect this.

Establishing Programs to Mitigate Burnout

Leadership decision-making plays a pivotal role in the creation of programs aimed at mitigating burnout. These initiatives can encompass wellness programs, stress reduction strategies, and professional development opportunities. By proactively addressing burnout, leaders foster a culture of support and well-being.

Compassion and Empathy as Leadership Insights

Leadership insight goes beyond making decisions; it involves understanding the emotional landscape of employees. Compassion and empathy are powerful tools for leaders to connect with their team members, helping them navigate and address mental wellness challenges. Recognizing the human aspect of healthcare work, leaders who foster a supportive and understanding environment contribute significantly to reducing burnout.

Removing Barriers to Patient Care and Providing Support

Leadership support is exemplified by the removal of barriers hindering successful patient care and the approval of essential time away from work. By actively addressing the challenges faced by healthcare professionals, leaders create an environment where employees feel valued and supported, reducing burnout risk.

By acknowledging these leadership-driven strategies, we can draw a direct connection between decreased employee burnout rates and effective leadership. While employees bear a level of responsibility for their own health and well-being, leaders wield substantial influence in making progressive decisions, offering relational insight, and providing valued support to reduce the risk of burnout.

Leaders Need Burnout Prevention Too

It’s essential to recognize that leaders, too, need support. A recent MGMA stat poll highlighted a concerning trend – 80% of healthcare leaders reported increased levels of burnout and stress over the last few years. Some leaders coped by changing jobs, emphasizing the importance of a workplace that respects time away from the office and mental health.

“I changed jobs; moved to a company that respects time away from the office [and] mental health.”

The Leadership First Approach™ underscores the profound impact leadership teams have on organizational success by prioritizing the well-being and retention of their employees. This approach addresses the reciprocity of support, emphasizing that leaders must also attend to their well-being to effectively contribute to the success of healthcare organizations. Leaders cannot successfully support their teams if they are not at their own best.

It’s not just about taking care of the patients but ensuring that those responsible for patient care are supported, resilient, and thriving.


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