Leader rounding may be the most important tactic to help leaders engage individuals in the work environment. By rounding, we mean making the rounds, checking in with employees—but it’s really much more than that. It’s all about the follow through. Following up not only demonstrates your commitment to the institution, but to the ideas and feedback from those you serve.
Jermaine Ford, Associate Vice President of Workforce & Economic Development at South Louisiana Community College (SLCC), knows the value of seeking feedback, following through, and making impactful changes through leadership rounding.
Ford first began with SLCC in 2015. He recalls, after being there just six months, an older team member saying to him, “You made it past six months.” This statement struck Jermaine and he immediately realized work needed to be done to retain employees, as well as better connect them to the culture and values of the institution.
When Studer Education came in, one of the main things that they taught us was the principle of rounding and the impact that rounding has on employee retention.
SLCC has a number of regional campuses. After implementing leader rounding, a consistent piece of feedback from employees was that they felt there was more focus on the main, administrative campus than on the outlying campuses. Ford and his team have been able to take action and demonstrate to all employees that their voices are heard.
The effort in the last year or so has been to make sure that we are updating and modernizing the infrastructure.This sends a message to our outlying campuses that they matter. We are seeing higher student success and employee retention rates. This came as a result of rounding.
What rounding did for us is that it allowed us to connect the dots in a more impactful way. Once we started to track, not just the data, but where we were relative to having engagement with some of those employees and campuses, we were able to follow up with the things requested.
Following through and making real changes based on employee feedback is essential to SLCC’s success. Employees want to make a difference. When they see results, their passion is reignited and they become motivated to seek even more results. This shows them they are the catalyst for change—that their presence within the organization makes a difference.
Ford explains that at SLCC rounding goes beyond sitting down and having that one-on-one conversation in the office setting. Even more effective rounding takes shape in other, more intimate and personal spaces of fellowship, as well.
Here in Louisiana, family, food, faith, fellowship, and fun are key ingredients to the culture. They are key to reaching someone from a genuine perspective. One of the things we did last year that was a tremendous hit was a potluck with employees. The fact that people we able to sit down, break bread, and have that level of engagement, was far better than we could have ever imagined.
SLCC recognizes the impact their employee talent has on moving the needle forward. How do you use rounding to seek feedback at your organization? Do you take rounding beyond the office setting? Are you making changes based on the feedback you receive? Most importantly, are you showcasing the action taken as a result of rounding?