Internal communication can shape an organization’s culture and actively engage its workforce. A recent Gallup State of the American Workplace Report showed only 33 percent of U.S. employees feel engaged at work. Maintaining open and transparent communication between staff and management is essential to foster an effective and hardworking team, particularly in the ever-changing world of health care. Yet hospital and health care workforces can be among the most difficult audiences to reach – particularly clinical staffs.
The long-standing challenge of internal communication within hospitals, nursing homes and other health care environments finds its root in employees’ limited access to a “work desk” or computer for large portions of the day. This challenge requires clinical staff members to consistently update themselves – often through non-traditional means and after their shifts have ended – and pressures the management team to send concise, attention-grabbing messages. Add to that a 24/7 work environment and the reality that “full staff” meetings are not possible because patient bedside care cannot be put on hold.
Clearly, internal communications is not one size fits all and finding the most effective way to contact clinical staff can be difficult. So how do administrators and clinical managers get their message across in a timely relevant way? Ask yourself what, how and when to send internal messages to help increase engagement and awareness among hard-to-reach employees:
What is your message?
How will you reach employees?
When is the best time to send an internal message?
The key to a successful internal communication program is to regularly measure its effectiveness and continuously improve. Avoid depending on a single delivery channel and instead utilize multiple platforms to ensure employees are getting your messages.
And don’t be afraid to reiterate your announcements! Message repetition leads to message retention. Discussing an important topic during staff meeting should not stop there: add it to the next newsletter and post it on your intranet site. Clinical employees face a multitude of distractions and communicating through different mediums will give you an advantage over competing demands.
Bailey Shelton wrote this as part of a 2018 summer internship with us. She will be graduating from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in May 2019 and will be an asset to any future employer!
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