Employee Engagement Triage during COVID-19

We are all familiar with the idea of triaging patients as a way to assign order of treatment. What if we apply those same concepts to assign the order of “treatment” when it comes to Employee Engagement?

From a clinical perspective there are often 3 categories for triage: 

  1. Emergency – someone needing immediate treatment
  2. Priority – someone needing rapid assessment and treatment 
  3. Non-Urgent – those who can wait their turn to be treated

When it comes to employee engagement, it’s easy to skip the triage stage and lump everyone in the same category.  “Let’s have a pizza party!”

When this happens you might end up spending time on urgent but not important requests. You might miss the folks who are more introverted and less likely to ask for what they need. 

Instead, it’s best to ask each direct report so that your data analysis is more accurate and the treatment is targeted. You can use the Traffic Light Check-In™ from 6 Shortcuts to Employee Engagement as your guide (see attached tool).

In a nutshell, when you see employees during your rounding – and they aren’t in the middle of managing something urgent – ask them how satisfied, energized & productive they are feeling today. They can use a traffic light (red, yellow, green) as a measurement tool. You can ask follow-up questions to get to the root cause of the response. 

If you pay attention and keep track, you’ll hear trends about the causes of each type of day and then you can make system changes to address the acute issues.

You might feel like there a lot of things that are out of your control right now. This is one step you can take as a leader to help avoid excessive stress and burnout. When folks feel heard and experience an empathetic response, it goes a long way towards finding and connecting to joy at work.

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