This is the second installment of my mini-series on what I’ve learned from directing internal communications during integration of hospitals and medical group organizations. My previous post focused on strategy – this one tackles tactical components.
As integration of employees begins, I create an initial communication with “What’s changing, what’s not.” We ask managers to deliver it and discuss it with their staff; supporting FAQs, talking points, and timeline overview reference tools are essential.
Allow as much lead time as possible to prepare this communication. Timing is tricky – it’s a balance between getting it out early enough to alleviate staff angst and confusion, and late enough that most change factors and go-live timeframes have been solidified, to make it as meaningful and helpful as possible.
After this initial overview communication becomes available, move quickly to a bi-weekly and then weekly roll-up update for managers and senior leadership. Consider a second version for all staff that has fewer updates (i.e. only those requiring action by staff as opposed to managers).
Other proven tactical tools:
- Supply “at a glance” overviews of milestones and dates (via a checklist) for quick reference by core leaders and staff.
- Reminders (in updates) should be a balance of verbal from managers, visible posted notices, and intranet – with minimal reminders pushed via email, except for inclusion in the weekly roll-up update.
- Hold monthly drop-ins at the facility – informal, with HR and IT project managers/execs on hand to answer questions. These sessions expand awareness, reduce confusion and build comfort level.
- Age-old big-organization challenge: making sure important time-sensitive communications get to staff clinicians. Respect time-sensitivity as related to needed actions or impact on staff, especially payroll changes. It may not always be possible to fit notices into the cadence of the e-newsletter updates.