As the pandemic continues, healthcare organizations are working to support staff amid chronic employee exhaustion and low morale. To mitigate these issues, Allentown, Pa.-based Lehigh Valley Health Network created LVHN Insider, a robust, responsive communications platform using Firstup.
During a featured session sponsored by Firstup as part of Becker’s Healthcare HR + Talent Virtual Event in January, Rey Bouknight, strategy director at Firstup, and Pamela Riddell, administrator, strategic communications at LVHN, discussed how the organization used pop-up parties, colleague- and leadership-led communications and a host of creative incentives to build a successful communications program.
- Pop-up parties help colleagues rally around the LVHN brand, celebrate successes and collect feedback and ideas for future programs. According to Ms. Riddell, it has been difficult to get colleagues to break away from their daily duties to read intranet articles or come to town halls. “We really needed to go to them,” she said. As a result, LVHN threw pop-up parties at hospitals, health centers and administrative offices to celebrate staff members, LVHN’s partnership with the community and the organization’s reinvented brand (“Your health deserves a partner”). “We pop in and invite colleagues to get tumblers, sunscreen, cooling towels or other swag,” she said. Roughly 14,000 colleagues attended about 20 LVHN pop-up parties.
- LVHN Insider is a complete communications platform to deliver content colleagues want. In April 2021, LVHN revolutionized its internal communications when it launched a new platform including an app, website and email engine. “On the back end, it connects everything you need to push out communications to employees,” Ms. Riddell said. “On the front end, it’s a mobile app, delivering content to employees wherever they are.” The platform allows LVHN to personalize content directly to its physician practices, to specific hospital campuses or to groups of employees so they receive information that is important to them. It also allows comprehensive sharing of important news to everyone when necessary. LVHN has data showing which groups are engaging so the communications team can refine its strategy. “Instead of going off a hunch or what people might be saying, LVHN can follow the data and make decisions based upon metrics,” Mr. Bouknight said.
- LVHN Insider allows colleagues and leadership to actively participate in communications initiatives that build community and boost morale. According to Mr. Bouknight, the platform gives everyone a voice. “It’s not just the communications team speaking,” he said. “By offering a platform that gives a social media-type experience where individuals can create content as well as comment and participate in polls and surveys, LVHN is enabling them to have a voice.” Enabling colleagues to participate in recruiting efforts and seeing leadership post their appreciation has helped build morale.
- With contests and incentives, LVHN’s communications team has reached its aggressive engagement goal. LVHN had a goal of registering 70 percent of its colleagues within the first nine months of the program. “People love free items,” Ms. Riddell said. “We had a contest that rewarded the first 100 people who commented on a post with tickets to a popular holiday light show, but they had to register to comment. The HR department gives gifts every year, but this year, they had to register to receive their gift. We are now up to 87 percent of our busy colleagues registered today.”
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