Here’s what I’ve learned from directing internal communications to manager and all-employee levels during integration of their hospital or medical group organization into our large health care system. I’ve done two of each.
- Develop an over-arching communication plan incorporating all HR, IT and other work streams to ensure consistent messaging to impacted populations (theme, tone, format, terminology).
- Emphasize positive outcome/future for both organizations
- Acknowledge short-term inconvenience during change (transparency)
- Establish channel/vehicle for regular updates to leaders/managers
- Use a consistent message structure that clarifies what will not change, what will change “now” (i.e. at go-live or start date), and what will change later.
- Stop the bombardment of one-off email communications about individual aspects of the integration; instead, rely on a weekly rolled-up update (e-newsletter and/or text-message format) that provides everything managers need to know about what’s happening when, and action items. Another version could go to all employees.
- Equip executive leaders and managers to deliver key messages /information to their employees, always providing clear “actions required” of both the managers and the employees.
- Align with union contract negotiation timing and politics; fully clarify what applies to each group.