You can’t pour from an empty cup – 3 ways to support your staff

You can’t pour from an empty cup – 3 ways to support your staff

Having a job that is mainly focused on caring for others, sometimes means your own wellbeing takes a back seat. For those working in the NHS the pandemic has put an even greater strain on a community that was susceptible to stress and burnout.


Workforce pressures have increased exponentially, with 92% of trusts reporting to NHS Providers they had concerns about staff wellbeing, stress and burnout following the pandemic. Workplace stress can also influence the quality of care as well as an increase in vacancies as a direct result of burnout.

GMC report found that post the pandemic, there had been an increase in nurses seeking jobs outside the NHS because pressures were too high within the public field. The report also found that patient satisfaction was higher in healthcare organisations and teams where staff health and wellbeing are better, suggesting that the better well-being of the staff, the better the quality of care.

At a time when recruiting and retaining staff is critical for NHS organisations, the need to consider staff wellbeing is crucial. So how can strong leaders build resilient teams to navigate away from workplace issues like burnout and stress?

There are three key activities to support your staff:

Take preventative measures:

Stigma around mental health is one of the main reasons people don’t seek help. Checking in on a regular basis with staff will not only create a culture where regularly evaluating your emotions becomes the norm, but also help with recognising symptoms earlier. Also creating a buddy system where staff can rely on each other for support will lessen the burden of any overwhelming emotions as well as creating a safe environment for staff to express concerns.

Create targeted interventions:

If staff start to show symptoms, use targeted interventions such as signposting to direct them to services and or information that is available to them for help. For example, directing staff to support services such as helplines, chatrooms, educational webinars etc. Compassionate leadership as defined by the Kings Fund “means leaders listen with fascination to those they lead, arriving at a shared (rather than imposed) understanding of the challenges they face, empathising with and caring for them, and then taking action to help or support them”. This idea of compassionate leadership can be used to create a more supportive and accepting environment for staff.

Create a culture of self-care

There is a very simple self-care quote that embodies what the movement is all about which is “Remember to take care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup”. One of the main causes of burnout is when you overwork or push past your capacity, and that is why creating a culture of self-care means preventing working past your means. In order to do that, there need to be mechanisms put in place for staff to look after themselves which are shared and encouraged between teams. Mechanisms such as mindfulness techniques, mental wellness apps, or even lifestyle changes.

Thinking about these 3 types of activity to support your staff will not only prevent issues like burnout, but also help cultivate resilience for your teams. The pandemic has shown resilience is one of the more valuable skills to possess during times of high stress, and it’s vital for leaders to cultivate this in their teams in order to succeed.

At Miad Healthcare, we care about giving the best possible knowledge to managers to help their teams become more resilient and mindful of their staff. Sign up below for one of our live webinars that deal with Resilience, Mindfulness, and Managing Through Difficult Times: