Stressed Employees Need HR Resources, Boundaries

Lena J. Weiner, for HealthLeaders Media , March 17, 2014


Maureen O'Keeffe
President of the Board of Directors of ASHHRA

"I've been in healthcare for 18 years, and… over the last couple years, it feels like the pace of work is faster and things are more intense. There's definitely more stress on the employees than there has been in the past," Maureen O'Keeffe, SPHR, CHHR, vice president and chief human resource officer at St. Luke's Health System in Boise, ID told me during a recent interview. O'Keeffe, who is also president of the board of directors of The American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA) agrees that the implementation of the healthcare reform law has created a sense of uncertainty and insecurity for healthcare workers.

Let Them Know Help is Available
But is it HR's job to help guide stressed out employees in the first place?

"Partly, I think so," O'Keeffe said. "It's our responsibility to set up the systems that help them find the right resources, then make the resources known so they don't have to come to HR to find them."

'Many employers, hospitals and universities have already implemented less-traditional ways to help their employees relax and take stressors off their minds, from the functional (free childcare on-site) to the invigorating (yoga and Zumba classes) to the quirky (a roomful of puppies).

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2 comments on "Stressed Employees Need HR Resources, Boundaries"

M Burbary (3/20/2014 at 9:43 PM)
I was struck in the face by a surgeon. No one witnessed it. Later that same morning he had a major melt down that everyone saw. When his assault was reported, I was moved to another site and life has gone on as usual for him and I have a long commute. My word against his according to HR. So much for zero tolerance for violence. Nobody cares, don't let anyone kid you.

Michael Cylkowski (3/17/2014 at 5:40 PM)
"Stress can kill you" says O'Keeffe, but then again she says, "HR needs to have healthy boundaries." Eh? Your company's culture is often the stressor so do something about it. Where are all these supposedly wonderful 'wellness programs'? A large part of the ACA is to get patients to adopt healthy behaviors. It seems the healthy behavior here would be for the employee to walk away from the stressor. Surely O'Keeffe realizes that providing professional counseling is cheaper than recruiting and retraining replacements.




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