Carey Peterson has been at Sutter Health for 17 years. And during that time the not-for-profit healthcare organization has tried numerous ways of engaging with employees. Print. Email. Digital. They even created a company broadcast news network.
The challenge was daunting. Peterson, the Director of Internal Communications, said that despite their best efforts, it remained a constant struggle to connect with 53,000 employees spread throughout more than 100 facilities across Northern California – working a 24-7 schedule.
“It’s just especially difficult to reach people who aren’t sitting in front of a computer,” she explained.
But on a recent webinar, Peterson and colleague Michelle Grant shared how Sutter Health finally solved that vexing communications gap by using Dynamic Signal’s mobile-first platform to both inform and mobilize the workforce.
Today, Sutter Health not only can deliver relevant content to each employee directly on their smartphones, but the innovative mobile solution is helping instill a greater sense of pride in the collective mission of delivering excellent healthcare.
“It’s not about changing employee behavior,” Peterson said. “It’s about changing our behavior to match what is most convenient and productive for them. . . . It wasn’t about what’s in it for Sutter Health. It’s about the employees. We wanted them to have instant access to organizational news.”
Sutter Health rolled out the transformative platform in June with the goal of having 20 percent of employees using the platform by the end of 2017. But within the first four months, 36 percent of the company had already adopted the Dynamic Signal solution. There were more than five million impressions of Sutter Health content shared by employees on their social networks.
In other words, Sutter Health is going viral thanks to employees.
“We now have had the ability to let them show their pride about working at Sutter,” added Grant, the Internal Communications Coordinator. “We’re not asking them. They’re choosing to share. When employees are happy, it shines a good light on the organization. It has been really cool to see how that has played out.”
During the webinar, which was moderated by Robyn Hannah, Dynamic Signal’s Senior Director of Global Communications, Peterson and Grant discussed the benefits that Sutter Health has seen using the solution as well as what other professionals should consider when evaluating a mobile platform. Here are some highlights:
Meeting Employees Where They Are
The Sutter Health team learned that, according to a Pew Research Center survey, more than 77 percent of all Americans now own a smartphone. “So, we really needed to reach employees where they’re at – and that’s their smartphones,” Peterson said.
Other Sutter Health communication channels lack the crucial element of measuring how much of the workforce actually was accessing the information sent to them. “Communications is always a challenge, no matter what the industry, because the tools available to us don’t give us a lot of insight,” Grant said. “They’re difficult to measure. You can use email, but you can’t track the results. There are only a few tools where we can track success, and one of them for us is the Dynamic Signal platform.”
Boosting Company Morale
Sutter Health knew employees were thirsting to share examples of the healthcare organization’s positive impact. They just needed a way to help them spread the Sutter Health story. “This is the first tool where they have a voice,” Grant explained. “Our employees love sharing snippets of their day. We’ve seen people taking pictures with their managers. If we’re sponsoring a 5K in the community, they’re taking pictures. There’s a lot of pride in where they work.”
Meeting Compliance Requirements
The healthcare industry has stringent rules regarding the privacy of patients and providers. Sutter Health‘s communications and legal teams worked together to craft policies that allowed employees to share their daily work lives while also maintaining the appropriate level of confidentiality. So now, for instance, if nurses want to share photos of their wonderful patient care, there’s a quick approval process that matches the speed we’ve all come to expect with social media interactions. “Once we explained what we wanted to do, legal said: ‘It’s about time,’” Grant recalled. “They realized that we’re all communicating this way outside of work. They were telling us that it’s about time to adopt an experience that we’re all familiar with.”
“We always knew that this app was going to make a big difference with our communication,” Peterson said.
Company: Sutter Health
Number of Employees: 53,000
Dynamic Signal Implementation: June, 2017
Adoption: 36 percent of workforce in first four months
Employee Content Sharing: 5 million social media impressions
Impact: “I really think we’re on to something with this tool and we’re expecting more positive results.” – Michelle Grant, internal communications coordinator