Future-Focused, Data-Driven, and Technology-Enabled: Internal Communications Reinforces Culture at St. Louis Children’s
// By Jane Weber Brubaker //
How do you keep employees in the loop about what’s important to your organization? And how do you find out what matters to them? The broad goals of internal communications programs are to keep employees informed and engaged, and to solicit feedback from them. Why is engagement critical? Because engaged employees are energized; they understand — and support — what their organizations are trying to achieve.
John Twombly is senior consultant at BJC HealthCare and supports internal communications at BJC’s children’s hospital, St. Louis Children’s. “More and more, leaders in organizations are realizing that internal communications should not be an afterthought,” he says. “Studies show that organizational success starts with a highly engaged workforce.”
According to a 2018 Gallup report, business units in the top quartile of engagement are characterized by:
- Better customer engagement
- Higher productivity
- Better retention
- Fewer accidents
- Higher profitability
On top of these positive gains, engaged workers report better health outcomes. But how do you engage employees if you’re not even sure your message is getting through to them, much less how they’re responding to it?
“Years ago, we would send out an announcement and the vice presidents would say, ‘Okay, how is this being received?’” Twombly says. “You’d just kind of shrug your shoulders and say, ‘Let me find out.’ The only way you could find out was by talking with people — and we have 3,500 people.”
Fortunately, those days are over. Just as technology is transforming external marketing programs, it is doing the same for internal communications, with tools and platforms that give organizations much more visibility into the effectiveness of their efforts.
The recent coronavirus outbreak highlights the critical importance of consistent, accurate internal communications and the means to disseminate it for all businesses — and healthcare organizations are at ground zero.