You might look around at your team and your organization and think that everything is perfect. Spoiler alert: It’s probably not.
Or, you might look at them and see lots of areas for improvement, but feel like it’s a lost cause. Second spoiler alert: It’s probably not.
Even the seemingly most well-oiled organizations have room for improvement. The trick is using the right tools. Your team’s feedback is one of the greatest.
This past March, I hosted several panels for the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) virtual conference. Several of the panelists discussed not only the importance of receiving feedback, but also the best approach for getting it.
Here are three of the methods that stuck out to me as some of the most constructive tools for getting honest feedback from your team.
1. Conducting Rounds
Healthcare providers have been conducting daily patient rounds since the late 1880s. Rounds are used to ensure that patients and all members of their care team are on the same page, and to educate young providers. Ultimately, rounds have been shown to improve patient outcomes, and satisfaction for patients, providers, and employees alike.
So, instead of reinventing the wheel, why not take advantage of a model that’s been working for over a century?
Start conducting regular well-being rounds to check in with your employees and simply see how they’re doing. Make it clear that it’s an agendaless meeting. It’s a safe place to vent, ask questions, get reassurance, etc. Also, since employees might be a bit anxious knowing that senior leadership is in on the rounds, reassure them that this isn’t a “gotcha” meeting.
Well-being rounds help you learn by observation. Just like with medical rounds, you can make sure that everyone is on the same page about which tactics that you’ve put in place are or are not working.
Just be sure that you’re not getting in their way. They are incredibly busy trying to save lives. Don’t make well-being rounds just another burdensome task. Schedule a 15-minute Zoom call for those working remotely, or set aside a day where they can initiate a meeting with you.
2. Distributing Surveys
Another tried-and-true method for getting feedback is pulse-surveys.
Remember: Your employees are busy. They don’t want to spend more than a few minutes doing surveys.
Make surveys short — 3 to 5 questions max — via email or text. Send them at a regular cadence, like at 3 p.m. on Fridays, for example. That way employees know it’s coming. And if they miss it, they know it’s coming again.
Setting up a good system for surveys is a great initiative for an internal communications team to take on. It’s all about determining who should be involved in developing the questions, how frequently surveys should be sent, and what senior leadership really wants to take a pulse on.
3. Eliminating Implicit Bias
Workplace discrimination isn’t always visible. In many cases, if not most, it’s also not intentional. This is implicit bias — subconsciously stereotyping or having an attitude toward a group of people. Implicit bias has led to discrimination toward certain ethnic groups, genders, sexualities, abilities, and more in the workplace.
- More than 60% of employees feel that bias is present in their workplace.
- 84% of these employees say that bias has negatively affected their well-being, happiness, and confidence.
- 83% of employees who have witnessed workplace bias say that the bias is subtle or indirect.
Nipping implicit bias in the bud is especially important in a healthcare organization. The 2019 “Bias Barrier” survey from Deloitte found that 70% of employees who have experienced or witnessed workplace bias feel that they are less engaged in their work. And what happens when healthcare providers are disengaged? Higher rates of hospital-acquired infections, longer patient stays, more readmissions, and lower patient safety scores.
This training can lead to hard conversations, but it’s important to cultivate transparency. Don’t get defensive — really listen to them, take in what they’re saying, and make a commitment to change.
There are many organizations that can help. For example, the Perception Institute provides solutions from simple needs assessments to workshops on recognizing and correcting implicit bias.
Making an open and sincere effort to eliminate implicit bias — as well as conducting rounds or distributing surveys — have an added bonus. It shows your employees that you value what they have to say and that their well-being is a company priority.