Employees are the lifeblood of any hospital or medical practice. In addition to performing their assigned responsibilities, they carry your message to patients and they carry out changes within your organization. Because they play such a vital role in the strength of your organization, communication with employees should always be made a priority.
From implementing the provisions in the health care reform legislation to rolling out new marketing campaigns, having engaged and motivated employees is key to the success of any organization’s initiatives and to the organization itself. Engagement and motivation are fueled by effective internal communication and a strong sense of belonging. Below are a few tips on ways to achieve this.
- Send Regular Communication Updates
A newsletter or e-newsletter is a great way to communicate important updates, news, announcements, events, recognitions, etc. to your team. Content should include articles from senior executives on operations, compliance, provider plans, initiatives, patient care, marketing activities, and more.
Through an e-newsletter, your team members can access your practice’s or hospital’s website or social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
This form of communication ensures that your employees all receive the same information. With more employees informed about the happenings of your practice or hospital, engagement with the brand and attendance at company events will increase.
St. Rose Dominican Hospitals produces an eight-page, full color bi-monthly employee publication titled “In Touch Newsletter.”
“In Touch keeps employees informed about upcoming events, staff highlights and the latest St. Rose news and provides a chance for departments and employees to highlight new technologies and procedures,” said Tammy Kline, internal communication specialist at St. Rose Dominican Hospitals.
2. Integrate External Marketing Campaigns and Internal Communication
When developing a marketing campaign, show potential ads and brochures, to several employees to test the message and ensure that it resonates with them and aligns with the organization’s beliefs and culture.
Before unveiling the new campaign to the world, show the final components to employees first to make sure everyone is on the same page. This will also give your staff time to internalize the message and become brand ambassadors to deliver it to patients.
Physicians, caregivers and staff members are the critical interface with patients and are a reflection of your brand. Their enthusiasm and commitment to the campaign will be essential to selling it to your current and potential patients. They must do more than just know the message- they have to believe in it and act on it every day. Be sure to display the campaign’s message at your practice or hospital so that your staff is constantly reminded of the image your organization wants to project to its target audience and the community.
3. Encourage and Foster Feedback from Your Staff
Two-way communication in which physicians, nurses, caregivers and staff members share their thoughts, ideas, opinions and feedback provides senior executives with invaluable and insightful information.
Dialogue and active listening should take place at meetings for all levels of employees. Creating an environment conducive to openness and honesty will result in employees having a more positive attitude about their workplace.
“St. Rose encourages two-way dialogue with our employees through various ways including monthly administrative rounds and quarterly employee forums,” said Kline. “These meetings are used to provide updates, address concerns and answer questions.”
Your team members can also take surveys and participate in internal focus groups to measure and discuss the effectiveness of processes and procedures as well as operations.
In addition to soliciting feedback, senior executives should also use team meetings to unify all employees behind the mission and vision of the organization and build excitement around its purpose.