May is mental health awareness month. A topic which is so important for all of us to take notice of. For ourselves, family, and friends certainly. But also, for employees. After all, employees are the most valuable asset your pharmacy has so it makes sense for pharmacy leadership to take steps that help pharmacy teams be happier and healthier.
Employee wellness is a big topic. Like most things in pharmacy, there’s no one size fits all answer. But there are some best practices we can offer and inspiration we can take from pharmacy leaders who are doing amazing things for their teams.
Business Coach and Consultant Emily Cannata shared with us some of the things that pharmacy owners have done to help their teams thrive.
Rule number one with communication is to do it more than you think you need to. When we don’t have all the information on something, our brain tends to fill in the gaps. Not usually with the right answer. So keep those lines of communication flowing in both directions. Here are 5 tips for stellar communication in your pharmacy.
- Be vulnerable and authentic– Share your own challenges and struggles. Your employees will relate and engage.
- Meet regularly– We are living in a Zoom world. There’s no excuse to not have regular meetings anymore because they can be online, in person or hybrid. We’re fans of the 5 minute daily huddle and there’s definitely value in monthly team meetings.
- Open door policy- Make office hours so your employees have dedicated time when they can come talk to you. Consider taking employees to lunch or coffee for some one-on-one time. And of course make sure to schedule it, because if you don’t, it’s not going to happen.
- Mindfulness – Incorporate this into your daily huddle. Just 30 seconds to reflect and motivate. It sounds cheesy, but it works!
- Buddy systems are awesome! Implementing a buddy system (We like the term “accountabilibuddies”) helps make sure every employee has someone looking out for them all the time. You can’t be everywhere for everyone all at once so work buddies can offer support, assistance and someone to talk to.
Exercise leads to healthier employees in every way. Including mentally. Set daily goals and make it fun for your team. Here’s a list of things you can try.
- Team workout challenges – There are lots of fun apps you can use.
- Buddy systems again! Use that buddy system for exercise accountability.
- Partner with local fitness professionals- How about a yoga class after hours?
- Offer stretch breaks – Get employees away from their station for a regular break to stretch and get moving.
All that exercise might make your team a little hangry. Providing healthy snacks and drinks in the break room goes a long way towards keeping employees happy. Consider bringing in breakfast, lunch or dinner for the team to share. Keep it simple with Pizza, bagels or even just coffee. Do be careful of caffeine in the afternoons to avoid potential lost sleep. F
Rewards and Recognition
Keep your employees and give them an extra boost by giving them the recognition they deserve. This can be as simple as making sure employees use their vacation time. You can also considerEmployee Wellness handout bonuses and raises where possible but remember that recognition goes beyond the paycheck. Be intentional about recognizing specific accomplishments from your employees. Have team members recognize each other as well. You can even record a video to send to that team member to really brighten their day.
For many employees, a bit of flexibility makes all the difference. Bend as much as you can, and make sure your team knows it’s okay to take advantage of flexible options. Work with your employees to find solutions to scheduling issues. Offer remote work options where possible and optimize the schedule as much as you can.
Don’t neglect yourself and don’t let your team neglect themselves either. Provide self-care resources for your team. These can be take-home kits and supplies for staff. Think at home pedicure kits or gift certificates for massages. You could also consider partnering with a local massage therapist or wellness professional. Chair massages during break time can be an amazing mood booster.
Offering resources for your team is all about making it easy for them to find information and help. Sometimes employees just don’t know what you offer in employee benefits and assistance, so make that information easy to find. Here’s what we recommend.
- Benefits – Check benefits & available mental health resources with insurance if you offer it. Post information for employees.
- Partner with counselors or mental health professionals- If you don’t offer health benefits, consider partnering with local professionals for your employee wellness program.
- Share this website from the CDC for more support. Healthcare Personnel and First Responders: How to Cope with Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic | CDC
If you’d like to learn more about employee wellness, you can see Emily Cannata’s full presentation here. We hope you’ll take some time to watch and learn about all of the amazing things pharmacy leaders across the country are doing to help their teams thrive.
You can also download the Employee Wellness handout to use as a quick reference guide for Emily’s tips