Rounding- It’s Not Just for Doctors

By guest blogger: Steve Graham

“Rounding” is a term most people associate with doctors. Doctors make rounds to check on patients and engage with those involved in patient care. This practice has existed for decades in healthcare. In most business environments rounding is not as common, but it should be!

In his best selling book, Hardwiring Excellence, Quint Studer comments on how leaders tend to be task-oriented, however, most people desire a deeper level of connection. According to Studer, almost 40% of staff leaves due to a poor relationship with their supervisor or manager (Studer 2003). One great thing about rounding is that it’s not expensive, and can help with employee engagement and talent retention.

Leaders who hide in their offices, and are rarely visible, are missing prime opportunities to strengthen their relationships with team members. “When leaders round, it is key for leaders to recognize the employees’ needs. Rounding is powerful in meeting the basic needs of your team.” (Studer, 2003) Rounding is not a micro-managing tactic, it is a people strategy. Exceptional leaders understand the value of connecting with their teams, seeing them in action, and being visible in good and bad times.

When I was in high school, I witnessed rounding first hand, even before it was a popular people management topic. This leader, who was a hospital administrator, started most days with visiting every unit of his facility. Ok, I know what you are thinking “every morning!” Yes, it is time consuming, but the return on your investment is worth it. You do not have to do this every morning, but at least once per week. On one of these mornings, I was invited to round with him. It made a lasting impression on me. Seeing the staff faces light up as he visited each floor, I noticed a genuine sense of happiness as they saw him approaching. Rounding was as routine to this leader as brushing his teeth. When he was not able to round, the void was obvious. Team members would call his office to make sure he was o.k. They cared-because he cared.

If you are not rounding, start! Be authentic in your approach. Do not approach rounding with a “to-do” list or formal agenda. Let the interactions come naturally. You are rounding to observe needs not activity. Part of leadership is establishing trust. Rounding is beneficial in breaking down barriers and becoming more connected to your team.


About the author: Steve Graham serves as Vice President for Marketing, HR Business Partner, and college instructor. He holds graduate degrees in management and higher education. As a life-long learner, he has additional graduate and professional education in executive & professional coaching, health care administration, and strategic human resource management.

He is a certified HR professional with The Society for Human Resource Management, certified coach with the International Coach Federation, and a Global Career Development Facilitator. His professional memberships include: The Society for Human Resource Management, the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration, Association for Talent Development, and International Coach Federation.

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