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Interim healthcare leadership leads to improved employee engagement in the ED

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A rural community trauma center was struggling with decreased employee engagement and morale. The emergency department (ED) had very tenured leadership which had led to stagnation of employee input opportunities and recognition programs.

Philips Blue Jay Consulting was asked to provide interim healthcare leadership in the ED. Observations and interviews with the health center’s leadership and staff revealed departmental deficiencies and opportunities for improvement. Several department initiatives were implemented focusing on defining department leadership roles, team coaching, enhancing employee engagement, employee rounding, and more.

Positive changes within the department led to restored staff morale and staff involvement and a 23% increase in the overall director score from the annual employee survey.

Our Approach


Philips Blue Jay Consulting provided a consultant with extensive ED experience to serve as interim department director. The first step was to complete a comprehensive assessment.

Observations and interviews with departmental leadership and staff revealed that employee feedback and involvement opportunities were limited and recognition programs were dated and not impartial.

Employee rounding and department change initiatives were identified and agreed as priority areas of focus.

doctor emergency department

Employee rounding

The consultant proposed a team-based methodology for employee rounding. Department leadership roles were redefined with the department manager deemed “head coach” and six charge nurses designated as “special teams coach.”

Each charge nurse was assigned 8-12 employees to perform monthly focused rounds. The manager and interim director also performed focused rounding on employees quarterly.

New processes and programs

The consultant also created ED work teams to create new direction on key department processes and provide an opportunity for employee involvement. The teams focused on employee engagement, patient excellence, and the front office.

Each team had specific objectives and identified team members and leaders, as well as ongoing consultant oversight.

Initiatives developed and implemented by these teams highlighted employees who performed well and encouraged a high level of performance from all staff.


After four months of Philips Blue Jay Consulting’s interim healthcare leadership, an annual hospital employee engagement survey was conducted. The overall director composition score is calculated from six questions. The new scores posted substantial improvements since the engagement, with an overall director score increase of 23%.

The engagement resulted in improved employee engagement and increased morale. Open positions within the ED are now sought after positions within the organization due to the positive change in the departmental culture.

Employee engagement survey results

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* Results from case studies are not predictive of results in other cases. Results in other cases may vary

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