By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
[SHSMD14 Speaker Podcast Series] Lonnie Hirsch, Co-Founder of Healthcare Success talks with Marcy Marshall, Director of Employee Communications, Geisinger Health, about her upcoming presentation at the 2014 SHSMD Connections meeting titled: We Gave Our Employees a Voice: The Transformation of Employee Communications.
What do you do about internal communications when health system employees—thousands of them—feel their voice is not being heard?
Marcy Marshall, Director of Employee Communications at Geisinger Health, talks with Lonnie Hirsch about changing a culture, and building—from the ground up—an effective and successful social-business intranet.
In today’s podcast, Lonnie and Marcy discuss her forthcoming SHSMD presentation, and how Geisinger has been working to unite and engage a population of 22,000 employees. The conversation touches on:
- Challenges, lessons learned, successes…and future steps that are now evolving;
- Engaging employees and enhancing employee personal and professional wellbeing;
- Eliminating a print newsletter and opting to share news via an interactive social intranet platform; and
- Demonstrating value, and day-to-day usefulness, to managers and employees.
Here are some of the highlights of our conversation with Marcy Marshall:
Lonnie Hirsch: In 2011 you took the first steps toward changing the perception that Geisinger employees were a “seen-but-not-heard” population. What prompted you to develop this initiative?
Marcy Marshall: First, the rapid growth of our organization. Additionally, survey comments directly from our employees gave us insightful feedback. Also the President and CEO of Geisinger initiated a new vision statement containing a new pillar, the Geisinger Family, which was a complete focus on employee wellbeing, professionally and personally.
LH: How did you develop your social-business intranet designed to unite and engage your employees? Who was involved in the development of the intranet?
MM: As we embarked on this multi-year initiative, the organization recognized the need to unite our rapidly growing population while enhancing employee satisfaction. We brought together people representing employee communications, social media and IT to build our social intranet from the ground up. Our sole focus for the initial launch was engagement.
We also had meetings with key stakeholders including human resources, legal, and most importantly, executive leadership, because their buy-in was going to be key to success.
LH: What types of communications are utilized through your intranet?
MM: The initial 1.0 launch of our social intranet was aimed at enhancing employee satisfaction by providing a place where employees would feel heard and have pride in ownership. The focus was two-way dialog, recognitions, and the development of social and business groups.
The second rollout took our lessons learned from the initial process and we re-conceived our intranet to focus more on business collaboration. So the 2.0 version re-launch was a new way to deliver news. We eliminated our weekly print newsletter and opted instead to share news throughout the day via our social intranet platform. Now employees can react to the stories, ask questions, add insights and so forth.
LH: Do employees contribute to the intranet communications?
MM: Yes, they definitely have mechanisms for directly contributing, and what’s dynamic about this is that experts throughout the organization can answer employee’s questions directly. We’re essentially connecting employees no matter where they are located.
But beyond news, we have business units developing collaborative workspaces…an entire multi-level wellness space with direct access to our wellness team…some business units have setup customer service functions…and we also have clinical teams.
LH: What are some examples of topics and communications that come from different departments?
MM: From a high-level perspective, by demonstrating the power of our news delivery and social functionality, departments throughout the organization are coming to our employee communications team for strategic guidance on reaching the public. So having this two-way dialog allows employees a way to ask questions and get answers rather than a one-way push of information.
We also work with the marketing team to boost awareness of key services, boosting attendance at service line events, and ultimately boosting the number of appointments for that service line.
LH: What’s on the horizon for the evolution of this program?
MM: Our version 3.0 re-launch, which will take multiple years to accomplish, aims to dramatically enhance how we communicate and collaborate, but also to enhance the way we conduct business at Geisinger. The key word is integration…where currently our platforms are not integrated. But by going into enterprise Microsoft Sharepoint, the integration will be huge. It will integrate with all the tools that we use, as well as with our email and many other features.
For our listeners who will be at the SHSMD 2014 conference, be sure to attend Marcy Marshall’s presentation on Monday, October 13th, at 2:15PM. Marcy’s topic will be: We Gave Our Employees a Voice: The Transformation of Employee Communications.
Also for conference attendees, meet up with Lonnie Hirsch at the Healthcare Success Booth #904 in the exhibit hall.
This article and podcast are part of Healthcare Success’ continuing education series featuring speakers at the upcoming Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, SHSMD CONNECTIONS 2014 meeting in San Diego, October 12-15.