9 Strategies to Get Employees Talking in One-on-Ones

one word answers“How are things?” you ask.

“Good,” she replies.

“What’s been keeping you busy?”

“Normal stuff, I guess.”

“Like what? What are the kinds of things demanding your attention and effort these  days?”

“Nothing out of the ordinary.” Continue reading

Lousy Lettuce, a Rare Steak, and the Absence of Purpose

restaurantYesterday was my birthday. It was a little disappointing.

As is customary, my wife and I and our two children planned to enjoy dinner out at a local restaurant. I looked forward to it all week, as I do most of the cooking in our house. A good meal at a nice restaurant that I neither have to prepare or clean up is certainly a nice birthday gift.

When our salads were brought to the table, I sighed. Underneath the fresh tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, and oversized croutons was a bed of greens, many of which were black and slimy around the edges. “My lettuce is rotten,” I told my wife. “Check your salad.” Unfortunately, her salad was also in bad shape. Continue reading

How to Improve ANY Part of your Healthcare Team’s Performance

String-around-fingerThink back to your first week at your current job. Did you go through an orientation program? Did your new boss go over information and materials with you? Did you shadow someone who reviewed processes and procedures or do’s and don’ts?

How much of that information can you actively recall? Repeat?

Not much, I’d wager.

Turns out that even the most dedicated, educated, focused among us are limited in our capacity to retain information. Your healthcare team is no different. While dealing with the countless tasks, challenges, and responsibilities of each day, they focus primarily on what is directly in front of them and rely on knowledge and habits that have been ingrained over time. They are, after all, human. This is why leaders who want teams to reach and maintain a high level of performance find creative ways to reinforce new or desired behavior over and over again. These ever-changing refreshers dot the landscape of the workplace and are encountered repeatedly by employees.

Continue reading

Is Your Healthcare Team Warm Enough?

Healthcare teamworkTamika rushes into the clinic. She’s late. 32 minutes late, to be precise. As she arrives she meets the eyes of the Medical Receptionist, who glances at her disapprovingly. Darting into the back, she pulls off her gloves and hurriedly hangs her coat in her locker.

Her manager, Kate, is suddenly there. “You’re late” she declares.  Continue reading

Improve Patient Satisfaction Scores by Focusing on Employee Strengths

what are you best at?A high-quality patient experience comes from patients encountering employees who are in the right roles. This is the conclusion drawn by the employee engagement experts over at Gallup.

What are the right roles for employees? According to research, employees perform at their best when they are allowed to deploy their strengths frequently at work. Continue reading

Don’t Aspire to a Stress-Free Workplace

zen nurseI recently came across this Huffington Post article on ways to boost employee engagement. While most of the author’s recommendations are grounded in established research, one in particular made me do a double-take.

#4 Eliminate Stress. Impossible deadlines or excessive workloads will erode job satisfaction for even the most dedicated team members…Strive to create a stress-free environment by setting realistic deadlines and keeping projects manageable.

I’ve been training physicians and managers in healthcare for years. If I stood in front of an audience and told them that to achieve engagement they needed to eliminate stress for their employees, I’d get laughed out of the room. Recommendations like this are what cause leaders at all levels to view engagement as nothing more than an unachievable ideal. Continue reading