Change Management

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You’ve invested considerable time and money to build a strong future for your healthcare organization – a future that demands change and evolution.  To be successful, your team must see your vision, understand the “why” and be motivated to participate in the journey.

Change management

Whether you are moving your organization to a new strategy or integrating newly combined assets, our proven approach to change management communications has resulted in more than 85% employee engagement rates and allows change to happen faster.

Our method empowers an aligned leadership team to tell a compelling story, confidently engage, actively listen and adjust the cadence of change so your organization can absorb, respond and succeed. Through this work, your team:

  • Is inspired by your vision and understands each person’s role in achieving it
  • Agrees on upcoming priorities
  • Enables change to happen faster
  • Is ahead of the curve, anticipating challenges to maintain momentum

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During this transformative time in healthcare, employees are hungry for clear information. Learn how top communicators at health systems across the country are arming their managers, exploring new tools and engaging employees to improve patient care.

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Change Management Case Studies

THE CHALLENGE

A not-for-profit public health system was growing rapidly. But while planning to announce a new trauma center, children’s hospital, cancer center and more, leaders realized that employees were suffering from whiplash, having been hit with a series of major changes that created a feeling of chaos and uncertainty. Leaders worried that without a compelling vision to bring employees on board, they would lose their way as a system.

THE SOLUTION

We began by listening. We spoke with more than 100 health system leaders over two days to learn how they perceived the organization’s strategy.

We did two things in parallel – we culled the most important pieces of the existing strategy and built cohesive branding around it. We settled on four pillars that formed the foundation of the health system’s growth goals. We turned a cloud of obscure documents into a clear, branded one-pager.

Leaders liked the concept of a compass to anchor the branding. We used it to illustrate materials we made – badges, posters and a new intranet. The intranet was crucial – we built a portal to be a reliable source of truth for employees looking for information about change. Over nine months, we leveraged these tools to explain how specific changes aligned with the health system’s purpose.

THE RESULTS

After two years, the system continues to share major announcements through the messaging platform we built. To this day, more than a thousand employees per month visit the portal.

The organization has also kept its employees engaged during significant change. About 81 percent of employees responded to the 2017 engagement survey, almost 750 more responses than the previous year. The average employee satisfaction score is around 82 percent, up from 2016. This, we believe, is
a testament to a solid communications plan that informs employees and reinforces the health system’s four pillars that drive patient care.

TACTICS

THE CHALLENGE

Leaders of a major not-for-profit system needed to disrupt its care model to focus on population health. But employees were burnt out on change. Recently, the health system had rolled out a new EHR system, landed a $250 million campus expansion, redesigned its compensation structure and more. With significant transformation on the horizon, leadership feared that employees wouldn’t see how it could improve patient care and, eventually, the work environment.

 THE SOLUTION

First, we cased the communications infrastructure and employees’ feelings towards change. We polled employees, scheduled listening sessions and used other tactics that provided valuable information and elevated their voices.

They told us they needed to understand the reasons for change before buying in. They wanted to know how change would affect patients and their own livelihoods. They needed one source of information about change—plus opportunities to discuss it with their managers.

So, we got to work. We crafted a story about why and how change was happening. Then, we put that story in the hands of 1,000-plus leaders from across the system at a half-day training event. We gave them specific tools: a one-pager and a video that showed how changes would improve patient care. We also launched a new intranet – a single source of truth.

We coached leaders on how to communicate, then held them accountable for talking to employees.

THE RESULTS

Nine months after we began our work, 94 percent of leaders reported that they felt completely prepared to communicate the health system’s new strategy to their teams. The same survey showed that 87 percent of the health system’s employees were aware of the strategic plan and vision for the future and 97 percent self-reported as engaged.

Perhaps most importantly, the communications plan we created for the system continues to evolve in step with its three-year strategic plan. We didn’t just solve an acute problem; we built an infrastructure to manage change.

TACTICS

THE CHALLENGE

Information fatigue. Disengagement. Lack of buy-in. These were the sentiments expressed by faculty and providers at a large academic medical center in the Midwest. While barraged by a host of internal communications, there was an absence of two-way communication channels. That communication gap was hindering their ability to share best practices and recruit.

The academic health system needed to re-establish buy-in from its faculty, providers and house staff. To do so, they needed effective communication channels that were convenient and timely to internal physician and provider audiences. And the content needed to be instructive, informative and action-oriented.

THE SOLUTION

We were asked to identify and put into place internal communications best practices for the academic medical center.

Understanding the stakeholders. Our initial work was to engage the key stakeholders unique to the academic medical center. Our internal communication audit included personal interviews with faculty, advanced practice providers (APP) and house staff about their preferences for content and two-way communication. Each stakeholder brought a different set of demands, desired outcomes and definitions of success. And to build support, each one needed to be heard and understood.

The right plan. To inform our comprehensive strategy, we analyzed allocation of resources, messaging, frequency, usage, channels and return on investment. The new model enhanced successful methods, subtracted ineffective ones, added innovative channels and reimagined the structure for the Communications department and the work before them. Before implementing the new channels for all faculty and staff, we piloted the new communication formats among target audiences to measure their effectiveness.  

Specifics include:

Utilizing and standardizing communications within existing physician neighborhoods 

Improving volume and relevance of email communication 

Reconfiguring communications vehicles 

Eliminating channels that weren’t utilized by physicians 

Creating a customized physician portal 

Reinvigorating physician leadership councils 

THE RESULTS

Today, the health system has stronger market position with increased physician and staff satisfaction. Internal communications are managed from a clear blueprint. They are targeted, minimized and relevant.

Two elements were essential to the project’s success. First was our steady engagement with stakeholders. From assessment to plan development to trials to implementation, we were in touch with multiple specialties and disciplines. Second was ensuring that each communication in the plan was aligned with the medical center’s strategic goals. Buy-in has been achieved.