In honor of my 40th birthday, here are 40 tactics for staff engagement.

I turned 40 on Saturday. I know, I know, I’m still a spring chicken. But it’s a milestone, nonetheless.

Turning 30 didn’t bother me one bit. A few years ago, I started to think that turning 40 would be jarring. Now that it’s here, I find myself thinking… “Eh, no big deal.” I enjoy a tremendous amount of happiness and good fortune in my life: I have a beautiful family, everyone is healthy, and I have a job that I love. So, hello 40. It’s nice to meet you. Here’s to 40 more.

In honor of this notable occasion, I put together a list of 40 (yes, forty!) things healthcare leaders can do to engage and inspire employees that take less than 15 minutes a day. Review the list below, put one item per week on your calendar, and voila … I’ve got you covered for almost a year.

What’s that? You want this as a downloadable PDF checklist you can share with others? Done.

40 Things Healthcare Leaders Can Do to Engage & Inspire Employees that Take Less than 15 Minutes a Day

  1. Ask someone for their opinion on a problem you’re facing (“How would you…” or “What would you recommend?”).
  2. Write a thank you card to the team.
  3. Mention an upcoming training opportunity.
  4. Give voice to someone’s contribution.
  5. Craft a discussion question for upcoming one-on-ones.
  6. Follow-up on something discussed in a prior one-on-one.
  7. Hold a quick team huddle to do something fun or silly.
  8. Share an impact story that reinforces purpose.
  9. Ask about someone’s weekend/holiday/leisure plans.
  10. Make note of a team member’s unique talent or skill.
  11. Ask “What energizes you about your job? Why?”
  12. Take an inventory of the materials and equipment being used. What can you upgrade?
  13. Make plans to bring a treat or take someone to lunch.
  14. Invite someone to lead a staff meeting or team huddle.
  15. Just hangout and chat with members of your team.
  16. Share someone’s contribution/effort/accomplishment with your boss.
  17. Call a new hire to check in and share your excitement about their impending arrival.
  18. Offer to do a task others dread.
  19. Invite someone to partner with you on an upcoming task or project.
  20. Have an employee teach you something.
  21. Point out an improvement someone has made.
  22. Remind someone why their work is so important.
  23. Ask someone what they’d like to try and do that they’ve never done before.
  24. Set-up a folder at your desk to capture accomplishments year-round to include in the annual review.
  25. Ask for feedback about how you are doing.
  26. Make and post welcome signs for a new hire’s first day.
  27. Plan a staff potluck lunch in the office.
  28. Ask “How would you handle this if you were in charge?”
  29. Spend 10 minutes at the start of a meeting and do a silly teambuilder or icebreaker.
  30. Work side-by-side in the trenches with someone and work to understand the “little challenges” they face.
  31. Schedule a mediation meeting with employees who are feuding.
  32. Do an end-of-the-week check in with a new hire and ask “What do you need that you are not getting?”
  33. Encourage an employee to attend a conference or join a professional association.
  34. When an employee complains about a teammate, push him or her to go to that person directly.
  35. Identify employees on your team who don’t know each other well and pair them up for a project.
  36. Send a thank you card home to an employee’s family. Tell them the difference they make.
  37. Take a team vote on the one office item or equipment they most want to replace immediately. Then, replace it.
  38. Set-up a town hall meeting with a senior leader to take questions and express sincere gratitude.
  39. Identify someone worthy of a raise and/or promotion and surprise them with it.
  40. Remind your team that they only have each other and “we’re all in this together.”

By the way, there are WAY more than 40 ideas for engaging and inspiring teams in my book, Cure for the Common Leader. You can order it on Amazon by clicking here. Makes a nice birthday gift!

Joe Mull, M.Ed, is a leadership trainer and keynote speaker. He works with healthcare organizations that want their practice leaders to engage, inspire, and succeed. To learn more or bring Joe to your site, visit