How to Care for Your Staff’s Overall Wellness by Kristen Ernst

The past few years have taken a toll on most industries. As a mental health professional, I have seen people leaving education, healthcare, and other taxing industries in droves. How do you plan to retain your best employees? How do you help them feel valued and keep them from the fiery furnace of burnout? Employee retention is not just about competitive salaries and more vacation. Many times, we spend more time at our workplace than our home, so I have comprised a few things that help employees feel heard and understood.

Managers need to be emotionally attentive. Strength and power are no longer congruent with stoicism. Being vulnerable and authentic is valued in a leadership role.  Understand how to be emotionally attuned to your staff. Seek to understand them and know why they are in funeral service.  Everyone has a story.  Encourage personal and professional development but with rest and relaxation as a top priority. Goals should be made with intention and an emphasis on overall health.

Model healthy behaviors as a leader. If you act stressed, they pick up on that energy.  If you talk about maladaptive ways of coping, they will follow suit. Take care of yourself and create a work environment that promotes self-care as a priority. Create opportunities for employees to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness calms the amygdala, which is where fear and anxiety are stored in the brain. Implement quiet areas, places to take a walk or get fresh air, and give people tangible skills on how to regulate their mood. If you don’t know how to do these things, bring in guest speakers from your community on how to implement such goals.

Create opportunities for employees to find meaning in their work. Have times of reflection in meetings.  Give people a chance to share their successes and their disappointments. Encourage team-building skills. The pandemic showed us how interdependent we are on each other. No one can do this alone in a healthy way. We all need support and meaning can be made when people feel supported at work by their team.

These strategies will create a culture of appreciation and meaning that retains employees and help avoid burnout. These values implemented in everyday work life will be beneficial to you, your company, your employees, and the community that you serve.

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