Now is NOT the Time to Put Employee Engagement on the Back Burner

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the world of healthcare with extreme highs and lows. Leaders have been so focused on the crisis of the day that some employees are left feeling disengaged and unsure.

Now is NOT the time to put engagement on the back burner!

Healthcare leaders are telling me, “We haven’t had the time to focus on engagement. We have too many other priorities right now.” I’m here to remind you that engaged employees are the backbone of your organization. You can’t possibly achieve your mission and vision without them.

Here are 3 things you can do right now to re-focus on engagement.

1.     Measure & Monitor Engagement

There might not feel like there is a “right” time to measure engagement moving forward. It’s likely that there will always be something you think will get in the way of finding out how folks are feeling. I’m not suggesting a full-blown engagement survey – now is the time to use technology to crowd source engagement sentiments.

If you’ve let leadership rounding and one-on-one meetings fall through the cracks, now is the time to get back out there to round on all departments in all locations. This is the best “local” way to check in and informally measure engagement. When you ask the right questions, you’ll quickly get a sense of what’s important to your team including what’s working and what isn’t.

2.     Put Engagement Back on the Agenda at Leadership Meetings

Leaders in your organization are looking to the executive team for direction. If engagement isn’t on the organization-wide meeting agendas (Town Halls, morning huddles, Management Council, etc), then the perception is that it’s not important.When senior leaders make engagement a key focus, and frontline managers and employees follow through on their part of the equation, then patient experience, quality, safety and all other metrics you measure improve.

3.    Keep Developing Your Leadership Team’s Engagement Muscles

You don’t have to wait until you figure out what the “new normal” is to keep working on your leadership team’s knowledge, skills and abilities. Small doses of practical, tactical tools and ideas pushed out over time provide the best adult learning opportunity. The learnings should make sense, be easily accessible and be available whenever the leader is ready to learn. (For a great solution that offers all this, check out

Executive level leaders can role model effective engagement behaviors by checking in on how their direct reports are faring specifically related to their own engagement and the engagement of others throughout the organization.

The engagement levels of employees vary greatly since some areas of healthcare were on overdrive while others are or were furloughed. Now is a great time to make engagement a key priority again.

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