Years ago I took a psychology course that focused on family dynamics. I remember learning that in families with a troubled child, there is a tendency to give so much attention to that problem that the parents end up “ignoring” the good children who end up feeling lost, alone, or devalued. Healthcare organizations are no different. We tend to give the greatest attention to the “problem children” or those employees with performance and attitude issues. This sucks up time and energy for managers leaving less to focus on the engaged and fully engaged.
When we are conducting our employee engagement workshop, we spend ample time orienting leaders to the different approaches needed in coaching staff at the 4 different levels of engagement. What we find is that the majority of questions and concerns are directed at handling the disengaged and somewhat engaged levels; and for good reason. These folks demand time and attention in planning, direct coaching, and documentation. Most of the time I find that the leader is living in fear or at least dreading encounters with these low performers. The fear often comes from concern that their documentation isn’t adequate or fear of documenting altogether.
It’s disconcerting that we don’t get nearly the number of questions relating to the coaching opportunities for the engaged and fully engaged staff. When I ask leaders about this in our coaching sessions I often hear, “I don’t have to worry about them. They are doing a great job.” My advice is that they need to continually re-recruit their engaged and fully engaged staff or those stellar performers will take their talents elsewhere. Let them know how they are contributing to the success of the department and the organization as a whole. Find out if they would like additional challenges or opportunities for development. If you don’t provide them, another employer might.