Keeping your employees informed and engaged is important to many aspects of your organization. From productivity to ensuring you have a good reputation, good information-flow plays a important role.
When it comes to communicating internally, having a strategy in place is essential.
But before you create one, you should conduct an audit of your current communications efforts in healthcare (or lack thereof) to gage your starting point. How are employees currently communicated with? Is it working? If not, why not?
In communicating with your employees, you need to set goals, which should be in line with your healthcare organization’s overall business plans and strategies.
Take the opportunity to perform a SWOT analysis: what are your organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats from an internal and an external perspective. This will help you to determine what it is that your internal communications strategy needs to achieve.
Engage with key stakeholders – in this instance employees and different areas that need to communicate information to them within your organization. Are they happy with current internal communications? Are they happy with the frequency, content and delivery methods? Do they suggest any improvements?
With all of this in mind, you can build your internal communications framework.
As with most hospital communications, you need to follow the principal of who, what, where, when, why and how:
Who needs to know? You may have multiple audiences.
What do they need to know? What is it that you are trying to communicate?
Where is being affected? Is it one hospital? The entire state? One ward?
When is it happening? Let people know timeframes. Or if the issue has already happened, when did it take place?
Why is it important? Just sharing information with employees isn’t enough to engage them if they don’t know the background to an issue. To take them on the journey with you, you need to explain the importance.
How will things happen? Be clear and concise about any steps that are being taken or need to be taken, for example if there is a call to action.
Next you need to determine the ways in which you will deliver your communications. Depending on what it is you need to say and who you need to say it to, there will be different methods that are appropriate.
Good internal communication tools for delivery include:
Ongoing evaluation is critical to the success of your internal communications strategy. If you don’t evaluate, you won’t know if you have met your goals, objectives or targets. Evaluating success will also help you to refine your strategy as you go ahead.
An internal communications strategy should be a living document that is adaptable to change. Don’t be afraid to change direction if you need to. As with most things in the corporate world, what works well in one environment might not suit the workplace culture in another.