Promoting Engaged Teams

February 19, 2013
Denise Hyde

The Canterbury at Cedar Grove Care & Rehabilitation Center in Cedar Grove, NJ has started Pop Up Groups as a way of promoting engaged teams. To create each Pop Up Group, they took the employee list and every team got a random selection of care partners from each department. Those who have been in the traditional role of department leader are now Eden Coaches. There are 15 Pop Up Teams. The Eden Coaches meet with their team weekly on Eden Fridays. For those who cannot make the team meetings, the coaches connect with them during the following week to make sure they are kept up-to-date. They have been able to incorporate the weekend warriors too since the Eden Coaches take turns working weekends.

The Pop Up Teams meet every other week. They have each chosen a name for their team. One week when they meet, they are focused on education and the other week is focused on Learning Circles. In the Learning Circles, the teams get a chance to discuss different things they want to improve. In between the Pop Up Team meetings, there are coaching meetings for the Eden Coaches. The Head Coach is Ricky. It is during the coaching meeting that the Eden Coaches align their focus and messages for the teams. When the Eden Coaches meet, they also share what their teams are doing.

To keep this manageable, the Eden Coaches decided as a team to focus on one area for improvement at a time. Right now they are focusing on dining. The Eden Coaches empowered the teams with disposable cameras to take pictures of current dining experience. Then the teams offered comments on what they saw and what they wanted to see instead. Everyone wrote down their observations and each team got another team’s observation to work on. That is helping to promote organizational learning. Every team is focused on dining; they are each just approaching it differently. One team is focused on keeping the tables clean. Another team is focused on recruiting Elders to come and eat in the main dining room (restaurant style service). So far the Elders love eating in the restaurant. The team pairs them up with other Elders from their neighborhood so they are not eating with strangers.

The teams get a bit competitive about what they are doing. Everyone wants to do something special that the other teams are not doing. The coaches believe that by having the care partners see what others are doing, everyone is reminded to join in and help out as well, so the ideas spread. By having the teams each focused on a different aspect of dining, it coordinates their actions so they become the new normal for the organization.

One of their struggles is getting all the Pop Up team members together at the same time. As you might guess, they struggle with balancing everything else they have to accomplish with the Pop Up meetings. However, once the team members are together they feel engaged and important.

How are you promoting an engaged team environment on your culture change journey?

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