Employees welcome information about benefits and company strategies.
Employees welcome information about benefits and company strategies.

Building Strong Internal Support Strategies

Engaged Employees are Happier

The New England Society for Healthcare Communications (NESHCO)’s April healthcare communications webinar focused on keeping employees engaged with targeted, streamlined internal communications.

Employees that are connected to their leadership provide better patient care, and healthcare communicators should strive to set tones that resonate with every doctor, nurse, administrator, and staff member.

Establish Trust with Your Audience

Actionable internal communications start by articulating a mission and generating a vision, i.e., being your patients’ choice for the most coordinated and personalized care.

The first step is to establish trust with your audience. Rather than using a corporate voice, it should be more relatable. Healthcare organizations have diverse workforces that may be working in many different locations, so messages should also be localized, yet integrated.

What Do Employees Want to Know?

The webinar presenter used surveys to learn more about what resonates with employees, with some surprising answers. Number one was employee benefits, followed by job-related information, including how to fill out specific forms. Employees also wanted to know about short and long-term company strategies and leadership announcements.

Most employees get their information from emails and speaking with managers in small groups (huddles); old school methods like leaving flyers in cafeterias or mailboxes are no longer relevant. Emails work especially well when tailored for different employees.

One of the examples was a “Manager’s Minute” piece that contained:

  1. news
  2. action items
  3. links that provided guidance to help managers feel comfortable with complex topics.

These emails were especially useful for managers to prepare for employee huddles. They are now seen as trusted communicators who share valuable knowledge that benefits employees.

Really, Who Has Time to Read?

Today’s employee newsletters drive their points home when they have:

  1. Less text
  2. More pictures
  3. Useful links
  4. Relevant content

Employees may not always have time to read, so the messages should be bright and accessible, focusing on things they care about. Details about employee discounts, hyper-local information, financial wellness, even healthy recipes and desk exercises may align with their interests.

Digital signs are another useful tool that can integrate messages, videos, and other internal communications. The webinar presenter discussed the company’s TV show, which is shown on their digital signage. A “Patient Experience Week” segment highlighted emotional patient success stories, volunteer work, and employee awards. Employees are encouraged to share these experiences responsibly, following company social media policy. It is also important to keep this media in employee-facing areas, since it may not be geared for patient viewing.

The Value of Metrics

Metrics provide tactical guidance for healthcare communicators, and are integral to internal communications. These platforms can measure what percentages of employees open emails, and which are clicked through and read. This information can be broken down by the type of employee as well.  Results can then be compared to initial surveys, to see if they are in alignment. Interpreting metrics to tailor internal communications can streamline messages so that your employees will want to read them. Why?  Because it is content that they care about.

Spryte Communications