The Manager's Guide to Engaging Staff

manager's guide to engaging staff

Engaged staff don't just enjoy their jobs and their workplace—they're inspired to do their best work, and they're willing to go above and beyond to help their organization succeed. Not surprisingly, health care organizations with higher levels of staff engagement have higher patient satisfaction scores, better staff retention, and a stronger culture of safety.

This toolkit has more than 20 user-friendly tools that will help managers make the most of their opportunities to engage their staff, developed based on tried-and-true best practices and our work with the hundreds of organizations that use Advisory Board's engagement survey.

Download the toolkit

You don't need to read this toolkit cover-to-cover. Instead, browse the table of contents below, organized into seven categories—contribution to mission, one-on-one conversations, professional growth, recognition, staff input, stress and burnout, and teamwork—and dive into the resources you're most interested in.

Contribution to mission

  • Patient experience sharing - Give staff a structured opportunity to hear directly from a patient about his or her experience receiving care at your organization.

  • Internal customer rounding - Help nonclinical staff see the impact of their work by meeting with their internal customers.
    • Editable resource: Post-rounding reflection form
    • Editable resource: Rounding documentation form
  • Frontline dashboard - Build a simple dashboard to help staff understand their role in improving performance on your team's top priorities.

  • Humanized quality metrics - Make key performance metrics more meaningful for staff by displaying abstract rates as the number of patients impacted.
    • Editable resource: Presentation

One-on-one conversations

Professional growth

  • Stay interview discussion guide - Understand how individual staff members are feeling about their current job so you can help them grow (and stay at the organization.)
    • Editable resource: Stay interview guide
  • Individual development plan template - Work with individual staff members to outline a plan for their continued growth and development.
    • Editable resource: Individual development plan
  • Stretch opportunities picklist - Brainstorm opportunities to help staff develop specific skills and "stretch" beyond their current capabilities.
    • Editable resource: Picklist of professional growth options


  • Peer compliment jar - Create an easy way for your staff to recognize one another and build positive relationships.

  • Predefined team goals - Set a predefined goal that staff can work toward together to achieve recognition.

  • Manager's recognition box - Send personalized notes to deliver timely and professionally-meaningful recognition to your staff.

  • Recognition preference assessment - Assess your staff's personal preferences for recognition, so you can reward them in the ways that are most meaningful to them.
    • Editable resource: Assessment sheet

Staff input

  • Idea progress board - Collect feedback from staff and show staff how you're using their ideas.
    • Editable resource: Idea triage cheat sheet
    • Editable resource: New idea form
  • Picklist of ways to involve staff in hiring - Involve staff in the hiring process to send the message you value their input in building a strong team.

Stress and burnout

  • Individual stress assessment - Identify how you typically cope with stress at work so you can recognize it and react productively.
    • Editable resource: Assessment sheet
  • Change calendar - Schedule and space out changes across the year to minimize the number of initiatives happening at the same time.
    • Editable resource: Change calendar
  • Meeting etiquette reminders - Avoid hosting unproductive meetings to ensure you are protecting your time and your staff's time.
    • Resource: Infographic


  • Picklist of interactive team building games - Choose from this picklist of ice breakers to make your meetings more interactive and engaging for staff.
    • Editable resource: Picklist of interactive team-building games
    • Editable resource: Human bingo
  • Peer rounding guide - Create structured opportunities for staff to assess performance in pairs and hold each other accountable.
    • Editable resource: Peer rounding form

Download the full toolkit

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