Best Practices

Quick Tips to Show Staff Their Contribution to Mission

Here are four actions you can take on a daily basis to help staff understand how their work contributes to the organization’s mission:

a. Start team meetings with a “mission moment”—a story of a positive patient experience (or outcome) or customer service.

b. Share what you find meaningful in your own work.
Example: What has kept you at the organization? What experiences have been most meaningful for you?

c. Encourage staff who volunteer in the community (through organization-sponsored events or on their own) to discuss their experiences with the team.

d. Remember that you likely receive more information about the organization’s performance and future plans than frontline staff do. As appropriate, share information with them during team meetings so they have a better understanding of what is going on. (If you have questions about what you can share, ask your supervisor.)

1. Patient Experience Sharing

This tool helps you organize a structured opportunity for your staff to hear directly from a patient about his or her experience receiving care at your organization. This will give staff a better understanding of what it’s like to be a patient—and how their work impacts a patient’s experience.

Manager Time Commitment

For preparation and logistics: 1 hour
For discussion: 45 minutes

Staff Time Commitment

For discussion: 45 minutes

How to Use This Tool

1. Select a speaker to discuss their care experience with staff.
The speaker can be a former patient, or a former patient’s family member.
Staff who were recently patients themselves at your organization are ideal speakers—especially if they were a patient on your unit or have worked in a professional capacity with your team.

Staff who were recently patients:
 are easier to recruit and schedule.
 have instant credibility with their peers.
 are familiar with the inner-workings of your organization.

2. Invite the guest speaker.
Points to cover in your invitation:
a. Ask the speaker to plan to talk for 10 to 15 minutes about the care they received and their overall feedback (positive and negative) regarding their experience as a patient. Let them know you'll then facilitate a brief question-and-answer session with staff.
b. Explain that your goal is to provide staff with the chance to hear directly from a patient about their experience at your organization. The session is meant to help staff better understand what it's like to receive care at the organization and to uncover ways the patient experience can be improved.
c. Provide the speaker with relevant logistical details (such as potential dates and times for the session, location, and who will be in the audience).

3. Schedule the guest speaker presentation as a 45-minute staff meeting. Schedule the meeting during a time when you’ll be able to have as many staff as possible join from all shifts.

4. Use the Facilitation Guide (in additional resources) to run the meeting.
The guide will lead you through two distinct discussions you will facilitate during the session:
a. An interactive question-and-answer session with the guest speaker immediately following their 10- to 15-minute talk.
b. A separate, staff-only brainstorming session once the speaker has left. During the brainstorming session, you'll encourage staff to discuss both the positive and negative aspects of the patient's experience and identify possible improvements.

5. Follow up with your guest speaker—via email, phone call, or handwritten note—to thank them for their time and willingness to share their experience.

Additional Resources

2. Internal Customer Rounding

This tool offers a concrete way for nonclinical staff to see the impact of their work by meeting with their internal customers. As added benefit, when nonclinical staff round on units and departments, they can collect feedback, provide education, and identify improvement opportunities.

Manager Time Commitment

To implement: 1 hour
To maintain: 1 hour monthly

Staff Time Commitment

For individual staff rounders: 1 hour 30 minutes
To debrief with team: 30 minutes

How to Use This Tool

1. Introduce the customer rounding program at a team meeting.
Key points to cover:
a. The purpose is for rounding staff to meet with internal customers to collect feedback on what's going well and what could be improved
b. Two staff will round each month
c. Staff will round in two to three different departments or units, spending about an hour total rounding
d. Staff should take the Rounding Documentation Form (in additional resources) with them, and record what they learn
e. When rounding, staff should solicit feedback on their department's effectiveness, answer questions (and jot down notes about those they're not sure how to answer), and look for improvement opportunities
f. After rounding, staff will report their findings back to the team. They should be prepared to discuss customer feedback and areas for improvement

2. Select staff to complete rounds.
Choose two staff members each month to round on customer departments and units.
Prioritize staff who have limited in-person contact with customers (e.g., centralized support staff, call center staff).

3. Schedule rounding visits.
Rounding staff should round on two to three different customer departments or units per visit.
To schedule the visits, reach out to the leaders of the customer units/departments.
Key points to cover when scheduling visits with customer units/departments:
a. Explain that rounding on customer units/departments allows your staff to collect feedback, answer questions, and identify improvement opportunities
b. Ask if two staff members could spend roughly 20-30 minutes on the unit or department speaking with a few individual team members
c. Propose several dates and times, but be sure to ask if there is a more convenient or suitable time for the staff to round

4. Communicate logistics and expectations to the staff who will be rounding through a detailed email or quick huddle.
Key points to cover when explaining rounding logistics to staff:
a. Contact information of customer unit/department points of contact
b. Schedule details
c. Reminder to bring the Rounding Documentation Form (in additional resources) and take notes. The rounding staff should complete the form for each unit/department they visit.
d. Date of team meeting where staff will share their findings. Ask staff to complete the Post-Rounding Reflection Form on page 16 (in additional resources) before the meeting.

5. Conduct post-rounding debrief session.
You may choose to integrate the post-rounding debrief session into a regular staff meeting, or schedule a separate team meeting.
After the rounding staff share their reports, you and your team should use any remaining time to discuss improvement opportunities and any next steps.

6. In follow-up, send an email to your team summarizing the conclusions from the debrief session. Include agreed-upon next steps and who will be responsible for completing each.

7. Send a thank-you email to the customer units/departments that staff rounded on. Thank them for the opportunity to collect feedback and let them know about any relevant next steps (for example, if you’re planning to address an improvement opportunity based on the unit/department’s feedback, let them know your plan).

Additional Resources

3. Humanized Quality Metrics

This tool helps you make key performance metrics more meaningful for staff. Many leaders default to sharing clinical performance data as abstract rates or percentages, which can hide the impact on individual patients. By communicating performance data as the actual number of patients impacted, you can make the data more meaningful to staff and increase their investment in improving performance.

Manager Time Commitment

10-60 minutes (based on data complexity)

Staff Time Commitment


How to Use This Tool

1. Select a performance metric you want to make more meaningful to staff.

Consider metrics that are typically reported as abstract rates—for example, the number of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) per 1,000 urinary catheter days.

2. Translate the clinical data into the metric number of patients affected.
For example:

Original Metric: 9.5 CAUTIs per 1,000 urinary catheter days

Translation: Multiply CAUTIs / 1,000 urinary catheter days by # catheter days in your unit each month] to find the # of CAUTIs each month.

For example, if this unit had 360 catheter days per
month, the calculation is: [9.5/1000] x [360/1] =3.42

Humanized metric: 3 people with CAUTI infections this month

3. Display the “number of patients affected” metric alongside the standard clinical measure on staff-facing dashboards and graphs.
We recommend displaying icons of people to represent the number of patients impacted, alongside the standard metric (such as the number of infections per 1,000 device days).

4. Introduce the concept of “humanized data" to your staff at a team meeting.
Talking points:
 Describe why the metric you selected is important
 Explain how you translated the metric into actual human lives
 Tell staff that your goal is to remind them why we are tracking these numbers in the first place
 Let them know how often you’ll update the data

4. Frontline Dashboard

This tool equips you to have a series of conversations with staff about improving performance on your team’s top priorities, and help staff understand how their work contributes to your team’s performance.

Manager Time Commitment

To implement:15 minutes
To maintain: 15 minutes to update your team’s Frontline Dashboard every two to four weeks

Staff Time Commitment

For discussion: 5 to 10 minutes at change-of shift or team huddle

How to Use This Tool

1. Create—or enhance—your Frontline Dashboard.
[If you already have a Frontline Dashboard, or already display team priorities] Take the quick audit below to learn if you have any opportunities to do this more effectively. If all the statements accurately describe your dashboard, skip to Step 5. If you answer “no” to one or more questions, continue reading to improve your dashboard.

Quick Audit
My team's frontline dashboard (select all that apply):

  • Pinpoints no more than three priorities that are most important to my organization

  • Displays current performance for the metrics I'm using to track progress

  • Displays specific targets for each metric

  • Makes performance data meaningful for staff by re-framing metrics that are harder to understand

  • Reminds staff about specific actions they can take to help improve performance

  • Is located in a place where staff can see it on a daily basis

2. List your team’s top three to four priorities on a whiteboard.
These are metrics that you have identified as your team’s current areas for improvement, where you can access up-to-date information on progress. Do not select a metric for your Frontline Dashboard if you won’t be able to update your team on performance at least every three weeks.
Use the Frontline Dashboard Template and Example Frontline Dashboard (in additional resources) as a guide.

3. Write your team's current and target performance to the right of each metric in a way that's easy for staff to understand. Consider reframing your metric using one of these options:
a. Use absolute numbers. For example, instead of displaying rates or percentages, you can convert this into number of patient cases, such as [X] infections in July. See the Humanized Quality Metrics tool for more tips.
b. Highlight how your metric relates to the patient experience. For example, instead of showing [X]% compliance with diabetes indicators, show [X]% diabetes patients receiving perfect patient care.
c. Use an image to show unit progress. For example, draw a pie graph or thermometer chart.

4. Hang the whiteboard in your daily huddle area or in an area staff often pass by.

5. Introduce the Frontline Dashboard to your staff.

Use the Unit Priority Discussion Guide, Part 1 (in additional resources) during a change-of-shift huddle or another scheduled meeting. You’ll need 15 minutes.

6. Remind staff about your team’s priorities regularly.
Update your Frontline Dashboard with your team’s current performance, and any new initiatives you’ve introduced. Do this every week—or less often if you don’t have regular access to this information.
Use the Unit Priority Discussion Guide (in additional resources) once per week during your change-of shift huddle. You’ll need 5 to 10 minutes.

7. Keep staff up to date on new priorities.
Remove priorities as they become less important (for example, if your team hits target performance)—and celebrate your team’s success by recognizing staff in a way that’s professionally meaningful. Replace these priorities with new ones.

Additional Resources

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