If you live north of the Equator, you are likely taking a summer vacation or holiday, looking forward to one, or have recently returned from one. While you are unplugged, the beach effect kicks in.
The beach effect is the perspective you get when you pull back from the routine. When you assess your life from a distance, scan the big picture, and reconsider your place in it. It doesn't have to be on a beach. A lake house, road trip, or stay-cation will provide the same distance as long as complete unplugging is accomplished. Vacations are good for that. No vacation, no beach effect, no big-picture perspective.
If you're satisfied with your place, the effect is positive. If you're not satisfied, it eats at you until you either do something to change it or resign yourself to never being happy about your work. Pity.
Most members of your staff are feeling the beach effect, too. While they're away, they're assessing their place as a member of your staff.
One of the responsibilities of an empowered healthcare manager is to make sure every employee has a positive beach effect when it comes to their place in your workplace. Their return is your golden opportunity. Consider meeting informally and briefly with those you most value and ask about their beach effect. It can go something like this:
I'm glad you were able to take some time away from your routine here for a while. When people take time off, they get a new perspective on their lives, including their work life. I'm wondering if you did that kind of reflecting, and how you feel about being part of what we do here?
Some may feel you are about to drop a bomb, and will react with suspicion. That's okay. There's nothing threatening about your opening remarks, but if your staff isn't used to this kind of questioning from you, suspicion is to be expected. That's why your follow-up must unveil your compassionate motive.
You're good at what you do, and it's important to me that when you're away for a while and look upon your work life from a distance, it brings you a sense of satisfaction and purpose. (Pause for a response.) If there's anything I can do to make you feel better about being part of what we do, I just want you to feel comfortable telling me.
Of course, you can have the same conversation with your bottom performers. If their hearts aren't really in their work, they know it. Coming back to work will be a return to a dreaded reality. Your question might be what's needed for them to have that necessary inner dialog that starts like this: why is my manager more concerned with my happiness than I am with my own?
When the empowered manager empowers the employee, harmony happens.