Relational Rounding: The Key to Building High Performing Teams

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Relational RoundingMany healthcare leaders spend way too much time and energy dealing with negative employees. At the Healthy Workforce Institute, our research shows that leaders spend 30-40% of their time addressing conflict, disruptive behaviors; dealing with the he said – she said, etc.  Knowing that all human beings avoid pain, it’s easy to just avoid your people. However, it’s getting out there daily through Relational Rounding that will help decrease the negativity and help you develop a high functioning, cohesive team.

“Oh, great”, you say, “add one more thing to my plate! I’m already rounding and it’s not working.”

Before you veto this strategy, read on to find out how relational rounding actually saves you time and builds a better team.

But first, why is connecting through rounding with your employees important now when you have so many other competing priorities?

In the midst of trying to complete projects or achieve the unit goals, a leader is usually expected to round on patients. Even though we know that nurse satisfaction positively impacts patient outcomes, rounding on team members is not always viewed as a high priority.

However, according to a recent AONL survey, nurse leaders report 93% of their work in the past week was administrative work and was categorized as a task which provided less than 10% of joy. Comparatively, 75% of tasks in the last week were employee engagement related and provided 56% joy.

Nurse leaders want to connect with their teams because it fills their cup and adds value to the busiest of days.

Relational Rounding isn’t the rounding you’ve been doing – it’s different.

I recently saw a sign in a nurse leader’s office that said, “People aren’t interruptions or distractions, people are the entire point.” Leaders who make relational rounding on their team a daily priority are the leaders who build and retain trusting teams.

Look. We get it. As a leader, it is likely that you encounter many competing priorities each day and before you know it – your schedule is completely full! Despite your desire to connect with your team, sometimes there comes a realization that engaging with the frontline team members has ended up at the bottom of your priority list. You are frustrated. Your team is disappointed. A visible leader is important to develop and maintain a healthy work environment. The team needs YOU and reserving time on your calendar daily is the best way to round.

And that’s why Relational Rounding works.

How you can implement Relational Rounding

The key is for you to engage in a conversation with your employees, every day, with the sole purpose of building a relationship and showing them that you care. Connecting with your team is critical to retaining the very best employees.

During your rounds, focus on the following three objectives:

  1. Build relationships

Sometimes, people act out because they are seeking attention. Instead of avoiding some of your challenging employees (which only makes it worse), deliberately spend time with them with the sole purpose of building a relationship with them. By doing so, you’re interacting with them on your terms – not theirs.

Just TALK to them. Not only will you learn about what motivates and inspires them, you will likely foster valuable connections and build trust. Building a solid foundation of trust will set you up for success whenever you need to coach, correct behaviors or address more challenging situations.
“Hi John. How’s your daughter? Is she feeling better?”

“Hey, Tamika. Tell me about your vacation! What was your favorite part?”

  1. Offer to help

Pitch in to help turn a patient, get a patient ready for the OR, or help to solve a problem. Get “dirty” with them, as they say. Leaders sometimes struggle to find tangible ways that they can support the team. There are often missed opportunities to “do” and getting shoulder to shoulder with your team almost always yields more benefits than you ever imagined.

Find one person on your team who needs help and help them.

  1. Catch them doing something right

It’s easy to identify what’s wrong. You want to deliberately catch them doing something right. “Hi Lucas. I saw you showing Bridget (a new nurse) how to document med reconciliation. I know you’re not her preceptor – just wanted to thank you for helping her.”

Recognition is a powerful motivator — be frequent, sincere, and specific. A recognition rich culture cultivates a healthy workforce and therefore, has the potential to reduce turnover, foster cohesion, improve morale and satisfaction, and boost employee engagement.

And, if you have a leadership team, make it an expectation that they round every day too with the same objectives. We recommend 1 hour per day either at once or split into two, 30-minutes sessions.

Just imagine the momentum you can create when your team believes you care, are willing to help out, and are recognizing them for the behaviors you want to see! Before you know it, your negative employees might actually be a joy to spend time with!

Relational Rounding will not only create joy in your life as the leader, but it will also help you retain your employees – make it a priority today!

To learn how you can prioritize rounding on your team into your everyday workflow, contact us at [email protected].

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