If you are like us, you’ll probably say that you’re already practicing leader rounding with your employees. We would have said so, too, at one time. In fact, during that time, if people had asked us if we rounded, we would have said, “You bet! I can do the whole organization in less than 30 minutes.” We would walk through the halls and flash a thumbs-up to employees as we passed by. We would ask people, “How you doing?” Usually they’d say, “Fine.” We would say, “Great!” and keep up the pace. If someone responded with a problem, such as “We’re understaffed,” we would say, “Hang in there!” and move on.
Leader rounding is different from what we thought it was. Most importantly, rounding is an opportunity to build relationships with our employees–get to know them, what they like, what they relate to, the people who are most important to them and other things that define employees as individuals.
When leaders round, they recognize employees’ needs, which are to feel cared for, to develop their skills through training and to have the resources they need to do their jobs. Rounding helps us harvest wins and allows employees to provide feedback about their work environment.
THE QUESTIONS EVERY LEADER SHOULD BE ASKING:
- What’s working well?
- Do you have the resources you need to do your job?
- Is there anything that I can do better to help you perform well?
- Is there anyone who has been especially helpful to you?
Rounding builds trust between employees and leaders. This relationship directly impacts employee satisfaction. For 93 percent of employees, trust in their direct leader is essential to staying satisfied at work and over 50 percent of employees surveyed say if they aren’t satisfied at work, they can’t put forth their best effort.
Rounding doesn’t have to be formal and lengthy. These quick check-ins provide time to ask questions, share opinions and clarify priorities. Gallup research indicates that engagement is highest among employees who meet with their manager at least once per week.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TACTIC FOR EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
What are employees specifically looking for in their leaders? Employees want a leader who listens.
Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work according to a Salesforce report. People want input on decisions that affect their jobs, and they want to know their leaders are listening. If an employee expresses a need or a barrier to their work during your connection with them, it’s important to do everything you can to remove the barrier, provide the needed resource, or explain why you can’t.
In addition to effective communication skills, employees are looking for a leader who recognizes their value and potential. People want appreciation for the work they do, opportunities for growth and confirmation their contributions make a difference. Appreciation can come in the form of recognition or even as a reward of new responsibilities aligned to the employee’s passions and skills.
When leaders round, we meet these needs and gain an opportunity to know what is occurring in people’s lives. Making a commitment to connecting with employees to gain input sets the stage for creating a more engaging work environment. It’s our responsibility as leaders to create a work environment where people choose to engage in their work and with others.