Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Employee Communication - #HealthcareHR

"I just wish we had better communication around here."

"They never tell us what is really going on."

"My Manager didn't even tell us about that change. Can you believe it?"

"The night shift is always the last group to know anything."

Communication:   Conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing or behavior.

What? Signals and thoughts? Now we're supposed to be mind-readers too?

Perhaps the most over-used term in the healthcare workplace* (source* = Me) is communication. Maybe it's because we have so many options for communicating these days? Maybe the challenges of running a 24/7 operation like a hospital or nursing home are simply too difficult to create a decent system to communicate with employees? Maybe life just moves too fast?

Or maybe those of us in healthcare love excuses and suck at communicating and don't have the guts to admit it.

Get over it, and get to work fixing it.

Step one - take some time and fully document the channels you are actively using today. What appears to be working, and what is a bust? Invest the time to understand exactly what channels are being used.  It's only through this first level of understanding that you can plan your course of action to maximize your communication opportunities.

Ever Ask Anyone?
Step two - now that you know what is currently in place, it's time to ask the employees which communication outlets they prefer. Since they are your target audience, it makes sense to ask them what they want, right? Do a quick survey of your team members and be open-minded to the results. Just because you believe your communication plan is best, it may not be anything close to what your employees want to see.

Get over it, and get to work giving them what they want.

How About You
Do you rely on outdated thinking  and a "memo to all staff" to connect with your employees? What about social platforms, what about e-bulletin boards, what about good old fashioned letters home, what about rounding during the night shift...which ones are best for your hospital? Healthcare organizations are complicated, and so too are the ways we need to communicate with our employees.

Which one is best? It's up to you to find out.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

photo credit  photo credit


  1. Nice post Jay. I'm not sure there is a best way as such, but for sure the better methods flow in many directions, and are timely. Have a super day - Doug

    1. Thanks for the comment Doug. I's a complicated issue, but one worth diving in to!