Give your employees a heads-up. Before you incorporate rounding into your organization, explain to your employees what you plan to do. Any time a leader modifies his or her behavior, employees tend to get anxious. Be honest. Explain to them up front: “I want to be a better leader and I need your help. I am here to recognize and reward people and to find out what’s working well in this company-and what’s not working so well.”
Prepare a scouting report. When preparing a scouting report, start out with a basic knowledge of what the current problems are. For instance, if you know a department is short staffed, put it on the report. Or if you know there’s a chronic problem with equipment breaking down, write it down. When you start rounding, you’ll be able to talk intelligently about the issues.
Make a personal connection. Rounding shouldn’t be all business. It is important on occasion to express interest in an individual’s life outside of work. Ask her how her sick mother is doing or ask him how his child did on college entrance exams. This is relationship building. Be genuine.
Mention an issue he or she raised during your last rounding visit. Illustrate to the employee that you have solved the problem or that you are working on it. “Steve, I know you told me Monday that the spreadsheet software needs to be updated. I’ve asked Melanie to take care of it and she‘ll be following up with you about it soon.”
Ask these questions, keeping your tone and words as positive as possible:
What is working well today?
Are there any individuals I should be recognizing?
Do you have the tools and equipment you need to do your job
What systems could work better?
When someone brings up an issue or concern, assure him or her that you will do the best you can to resolve it. If you can’t, explain why not without blaming your boss or company. Obviously, there will be circumstances you can’t control. But people appreciate knowing that you will try. Sincere effort goes a long way. Be careful, though, not to foster a we/they division by subtly pinning the blame on your superiors. Remember, there is only one team and it is we.
Record issues that arise in a rounding log. Remember the scouting report I mentioned in Step 2? The rounding log is a continuation of that report. Taking notes on what you learn during the rounding process will help you hardwire the process into your company. Writing things down makes it more likely that they’ll get done, and it makes things seem more official.