The late communications guru Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “the medium is the message.”
KSB Hospital, like many successful, high-functioning organizations, practices that in the way we communicate with our employees.
Whether you’re a member of the Nursing staff using a smartphone to read the blog “Notes from the CNO,” a KSB Medical Group staffer holding a hard copy of The Connection, or a Housekeeping Department employee participating in a Meal with the Administrators, communication is all around us.
“Effective communications with our employees is very important to the success of our organization,” KSB President and CEO Dave Schreiner said. “Keeping everyone in the loop, informed and updated, is a key component in building the best team.
“We know each person has his or her own preferred way of communicating, so we try to offer as many vehicles as possible in order to reach everyone.”
Next week’s Employee Forums are one example of how KSB’s leaders communicate with employees. Forums are held quarterly to present a business update, introduce a new program or area of focus and answer questions from employees.
Each quarter, there are as many as eight different forums at several sites, including the main hospital, Town Square Centre and even satellite clinics such as Oregon or Amboy. Upwards of 400 employees, or 50% of KSB’s workforce, attend forums each quarter.
Other face-to-face opportunities to communicate with employees are the Annual Meeting every December at the Historic Dixon Theatre and the monthly Meals with Administrators.
The Annual Meeting is a chance to bring every employee to a large venue to hear Dave and the other members of KSB’s management team talk about the year just ended and what to look forward to in the coming 12 months.
A Meal with the Administrators is a much more intimate setting in which a dozen employees are invited to sit down and have lunch or breakfast with Dave or another vice president to share ideas, suggestions and concerns.
“Attending a Meal with an Administrator is pretty unique to KSB and our culture of communication,” Chief Administrative Officer Julie Mann said. “It’s really a 2-way street because not only do we get to talk with employees, but we get their input or feedback about what’s going on.
“We all look forward to sitting down with employees at these meals. Nothing is more important than spending time with people who are on the front line and hearing about how we can make things better for both employees and patients.”
In addition to group meetings, KSB also communicates in a variety of other ways:
- In modern, mobile media with the “Notes from the CNO” blog, The OC and Dave Schreiner’s CEO blog, The Pulse
- In the old-fashioned print form via The Connection and timeclock postings, and
- In small-group settings like department meetings and The Daily Huddle.
“Notes from the CNO,” as Linda Clemen’s blog is called, is published twice a week and can be accessed by going to The OC and then clicking on the Nursing tab. It can also be read on cell phones and tablets because the site has been optimized for smartphone display.
“We study our website analytics on a regular basis, and it’s pretty clear that a sizeable number of hits on our blogs and our public website are coming from people on mobile devices,” Director of Marketing and Strategic Planning Tom Demmer explained.
“Notes from the CNO” is being utilized so that Linda and other Nursing managers can reach as many members of the Nursing staff as possible, especially since the nurses are extremely busy and crunched for time.
A key component of the website is the fact that it’s interactive, allowing nurses to provide their feedback, share ideas and suggest solutions to certain situations.
“My goal is to communicate where we’re at with initiatives, put a timeline together for upcoming trainings and provide resources and education relevant to the nursing industry today,” Linda explained. “We’re asking them for their feedback and giving them a quick glance at our quality dashboard and current scores.
“It also can serve as a bridge into the community by talking about what partnerships would be valuable for us to have,” she added. “The fact that the website is interactive is very exciting.”
The Daily Huddle, which was revamped at the beginning of this year, is a simple, quick, and relevant way to communicate.
It’s an opportunity for everyone in a department to talk as a team every day. Topics as big as a patient safety initiative and as small as covering for a coworker who is going to be absent from work can be discussed.
““We listened to feedback from the Employee Communication Survey and changed the Daily Huddle instead of scrapping it altogether,” Dave Schreiner added. “We believe it still has a key role to play in employee communications at KSB.”