Novant Health aims to increase paid time off as incentive to stay
Novant Health is providing full-time employees with an extra week of paid leave or cash equivalent as compensation for their work during the past three years of the pandemic. This follows the trend of increasing wages, bonuses and incentives keep workers at hospitals across the country, but may not understand why some healthcare workers are leaving.
“Like any other healthcare system, we are facing the same workforce shortages that we are now,” said Karman Canales, senior vice president and director of human resources at Novant Health. “We want to focus as much on preserving our existing talent as we do on inviting others to join us.”
Health care providers across the country are facing a shortage of staff, threatening patient safety and normal operations. states like New York take action by providing bonuses and other incentives to health workers. Pennsylvania did the same.
And hospitals are following suit as an already existing workforce shortage is exacerbated by the pandemic.
V to study published January 25 by nearly 630 nurses across the country from June to August 2020, researchers found that more than half of nurses reported insomnia and anxiety, both of which contribute to poor health and burnout.
Many nurses reported that they were not allowed to take vacation or even sick leave during subsequent qualitative interviews. NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing assistant professor and lead author Amy Witkosky Stimpfel said these findings are likely only continuing and getting worse with the latest spike in cases. But she also sees healthcare employers taking employee burnout and retention more seriously.
“There is definitely more focus on actually examining the evidence for interventions to improve the health and well-being of our workforce…but [at this point] some groups of workers are far outside [a week of vacation] will really be a significant incentive to stay with your employer,” said Witoski Stimpfel.
Vacation, for example, it has been shown to have only modest and short-term effects on the well-being of workers. Where hospitals can make a significant impact on retention is in issues that workers faced long before the pandemic hit: reasonable working hours and schedules.
“You have to start engaging your workers to make sure your managers know what the problems are and you have to try to make them part of the solution, not part of the problem,” said Ivan D. Smith, Labor and Employment. attorney at Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney. “Part of it’s not just money, but trying to look at your staff and figure out how to maximize staffing and try to minimize shortages as much as possible.”
Failure to do so could result in employees deciding to unionize, which Smith said could increase tensions with workers.
“If there are give-and-takes, it is less likely that they will [workers] think they need a third party like a union,” said Smith, who advises employers on how to prevent unionization. “The more they [workers] feel responsible to the institution, the more likely you are to prevent unionization.”
Novant Health, based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is expected to spend $40 million on additional employee benefits.
“We understand that we must take care of our team members first so that they can take care of others, and I am proud that we can provide them with this unexpected reward,” Novant CEO Carl Armato said in a press release.