Senior Leader Rounding
December 18, 2015
Senior Leader Rounding is a key success factor for employee engagement. Senior Teams are coached on how to purposefully meet with employees in their work environment. The steps include meeting with the departmental leader to have an update on current events that may include recent recognitions, new certifications or educational accomplishments, and possibly new quality endeavors or patient experience initiatives. Senior leaders can also share organizational messaging and current events with the participants. This purposeful rounding creates an environment of trust while casting a shadow of ownership and role modeling. This approach emphasizes what is working well instead of bringing attention to what may be wrong. Also, demonstrated alignment between the Senior Leader and the departmental leader becomes a big win. This tactic further improves trust which is imperative when considering employee loyalty.
It is often said people do not leave their jobs; they leave their leader. So how does a leader build that trust—through clear communication, rounding, visibility, and empathy. As the old Chinese proverb says, “If you want 1 year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people.” Developing leaders is critical to achieving world class results. We cannot assume that our leaders automatically know the actions and behaviors that will help them reach their goals. Most leaders in healthcare are promoted because of their technical skill, not because they know how to lead. Equipping them with skills to be successful helps them understand the organization’s desired goals and gives them the training and development to work with their staff to reach those goals. Leadership development (LD) is the vehicle to help your leaders personally improve, so in turn, the organization improves. Ultimately, leadership development is an investment in your leaders to become high performing, and help their employees do the same.
We believe a critical component of any journey to patient-centered excellence is to point the organization’s people in the right direction to accomplish improvements. Leaders often scratch their heads, looking at their employees thinking, “What more can I do to get you engaged?”, “How can I get you to perform the level of service that I expect?”, or “Why won’t my staff be consistent with patients?” These are common struggles for all levels of leadership in health care. One of the skills taught to leaders is purposeful rounding on employees. This rounding is prescriptive and not just a “drive through” methodology. This rounding is one-on-one time with the employee to aid in building the relationship with the employee as well as to give time for the employee to give input into the department operations. Leader rounding on employees involves much more than just asking, “How is it going?” To be effective, the rounding must be purposeful, focused, and consistent. Again, the focus is on what is going well, but also includes asking about improvements that may make work easier or how the employee may be involved in a new process. There is also a focus on reward and recognition of team members to facilitate peer to peer relationships and empowerment. Empowering employees to contribute to departmental and organizational success is key to better retention and reduced turnover.