Using People Roundings to build a better workplace 

By Whitney Abrams, Chief People Officer

Two years ago, Executive Constantine launched our Investing in YOU strategy to build a supportive and respectful workplace culture at King County where every employee can be at their best and do their best work for our community.

One way that I track our progress on this strategy is through a process called People Roundings. Rounding is what doctors and nurses have traditionally done to check on patients in hospitals. We use People Roundings to check in with leaders and staff in departments on our People Measures, the key metrics we use to measure our progress on Investing in YOU.

Roundings also give me an opportunity to learn about the exciting work that is happening in your departments, and find out what additional resources and support I can provide to ensure we are building a healthy and supportive culture in every department.

As part of Investing in YOU, we are focused on achieving racial and gender diversity in the top 20% of all County positions, and providing fair and equitable employee development opportunities. In my roundings earlier in the year, I checked in with department leaders on these areas, and it was exciting to learn about some of the changes we are making. While change doesn’t happen overnight, I am encouraged by the advances we are making and the drive and ingenuity displayed by leadership and staff in each department to achieve these goals.

This summer, I am once again visiting each department and will check in with leaders on two additional items: engagement action plans and values.

This is our fourth year of our employee engagement survey, and workgroups at all levels of our organization use this data to develop localized action plans that respond to the issues that you raised in the survey. Every department, worksite, and team is different, and action plans ensure that we are being thoughtful, inclusive and intentional in identifying and acting on the issues that are most relevant to you.

Last month, Executive Constantine launched the Executive Branch Values, and I will use the upcoming roundings to check in on how they have been received and will be implemented in departments. These values provide a framework for our expectations and interactions with each other, our customers, and our community, and they will guide our priorities and decision-making. They are also central to achieving our True North – Making King County a welcoming community where every person can thrive – and I look forward to hearing how leadership in each department is not only bringing them into their workplaces, but also modelling them day-to-day.

I enjoy the rounding process because I am proud of the work we do at King County and I want every employee to be happy and successful in their career. These conversations ensure we are tracking our progress, adjusting course when needed, learning from one another, and moving together as one team to create a culture where you have the tools, support, and opportunity to do your best work.

4 Comments on “Using People Roundings to build a better workplace 

  1. Ms. Abrams,
    Do you have KPI’s, (Key Performance Indicators) that could share with us? A visual of your measurements or information you are collecting?

  2. Can you explain what “people roundings” are and what they consist of? Going out and meeting with folks and talking one on one? Is it formal or informal? Can you tell us more?

    • Hi Pam, rounding is similar to what doctors and nurses have traditionally done to check on patients in hospitals, but for People Roundings, Whitney has a set time to meet with department leadership in their worksites and review their data on the People Measures that are being tracked, usually on visual management boards. If you would like more information, we can connect you with the Continuous Improvement Team for more details.

      • No, the explanation you have works. We are doing something similar, though we need to do it more often. Thank you for responding, especially so promptly.