[Edmonton] Event Re-cap: Employee Engagement- the secret sauce!

The new season of Emerging Health Leaders – Edmonton (EHL) kicked off with an amazing presentation from Carol Manson-McLeod, an Executive Coach with the Studer Group.

I was very excited when we secured Carol as a presenter; I’ve admired her as a leader in Alberta Health Services for a long time. And the subject of employee engagement is one that is always top of mind for me, as my role requires that I be able to influence and collaborate with people across the organization.

We’ve all heard presentations on employee engagement before, but Carol’s delivery brings a fresh perspective to the discussion. One of the phrases that stuck with me was “culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner”. It’s so simple, but so true. We can have all the strategies we want, but if we don’t have a culture where our staff feel supported and valued, we won’t move the dial forward. It’s a simple, but powerful message.

Carol also reminded us to bring engagement back to the organizational values – whatever your organizations values might be. The key is to “make the values come off the wall”. When you recognize staff for doing something, tie it back to the values. “You really showed our value of ‘compassion’ the way you responded to that patient’s questions”. That will help us all to remember why we work for the organizations we do. It is also important to recognize our staff and colleagues for the good things they do, not just the areas that need improvement. “What gets recognized gets repeated”, so recognizing good work, and positive changes to an identified challenge, is important.

Carol introduced us to the concept of ‘rounding’ with our staff, not from a staff meeting perspective, but a personal ‘get to know you’ perspective. And asking questions in a way that focuses on the positive is important; sometimes it’s a lot harder for people to identify what is going right, but it sets a really good tone for the conversation, and focuses on the good things! The importance of building relationships with our staff and colleagues is so important, and we were able to practice rounding with our table-mates.  It was a fun exercise! Carol said once we have some experience doing it, it would take no more than five minutes with each staff member. It seems like such a short amount of time, for something so valuable!

As an emerging leader, it was a really great presentation with lots of good messages that I can take away. When we are forming our leadership practices and figuring out who we want to be as leaders and mentors, it is messages like these that we need to keep front and centre.

Thanks again, Carol! Hope to see you out at an EHL event in the future!


Nicole Whitaker

Emerging Health Leaders, Edmonton Node