Choosing an Employee Communication Platform: 5 Life-Saving Lessons From Healthcare


In a hospital setting where rapid response is a daily and even hourly occurrence, organizations should implement a streamlined, centralized platform that offers a simple but robust digital employee experience, writes Nicole Alvino, co-founder, and chief strategy officer at SocialChorus.

According to a studyOpens a new window in the Journal of Nursing Management, September 27, 2020, an increased level of fear of COVID‐19 was associated with decreased job satisfaction, increased psychological distress, and increased organizational and professional turnover intentions. However, the study also found that addressing the fear of COVID‐19 may result in improved job outcomes in frontline nurses, such as increased job satisfaction, decreased stress levels, and lower intent to leave the organization and the profession.

Clear, effective communication is one of the fastest and most lasting ways to build trust with your healthcare team and your entire facility staff. Not only that, communicating with staff members enables them to communicate with patients and family members.

Employees of healthcare systems are on the forefront of the battle against COVID-19. They are also the most exposed. That is why it is essential to have a digital employee experience (DEX) platform in place that enables messaging companywide about employee safety and critical patient care, but also provides targeted messaging to special audiences.

Complex healthcare organizations face many communication challenges, including sending consistent messages to a variety of channels; the labor-intensive job of collecting and compiling data; and the inability to measure the impact of the messages sent.

Solution: Centralized Mission Control

For the most efficient and effective messaging, especially in an industry where rapid response is a daily and even hourly occurrence, organizations should implement a streamlined, centralized platform that offers a simple but robust digital employee experience.  For ease of use and delivery, the platform should integrate seamlessly with Microsoft and other elements of the tech stack.

Five Key Components for Success

As healthcare companies embark on a digital transformation there are five essential components for successfully launching an employee communication platform:

Work From Anywhere: According to a PulseOpens a new window survey, almost three-quarters (72%) of IT leaders admit their deskless workers — the staff who don’t work at a computer full-time — don’t have access to the same employee engagement tools their desk workers use. Today, a platform that allows workers to quickly switch between tasks, pivot to new priorities, and takes on new roles — all from any location is crucial. Doctors, nurses, and housekeeping are on the go and may prefer a mobile app whereas administrative wired workers might rely on SharePoint on their company computers for up-to-date bulletins.

Equity: An IDC reportOpens a new window concludes that to truly drive work transformation, organizations need an online engagement platform that can accommodate every worker and every use case, no matter where the worker is located. To ensure equity, HR executives need to create a two-way conversation between workers, build a feedback loop, and empower employees through content creation. For example, it’s crucial that the night shift be provided with a quick and simple tool for briefing the day shift with important details.  Similarly, pathologists must update pulmonologists to ensure optimum patient care.

Custom Communications: A digital workforce requires continuous employee engagement and alignment but it must be relevant for every employee.  Look for a platform that offers targeting and personalization features.  Nursing students that live on campus may not be interested in parking information but will want to receive job opportunity bulletins. A recent Gartner reportOpens a new window underscores the importance of customization, advising the need for a technology platform that facilitates multiple types and styles of work.

Business Intelligence: Selfless healthcare workers are known for putting their own well-being second to their patients, so it’s critical to monitor and support self-care. In addition to pulse surveys, HR can benefit from analytic insights to shape communication initiatives based on reach, preferred channels, and content types to maximize engagement. By unifying their COVID-19 communications into centralized mission control, Providence health network greatly increased employee engagement, resulting in an 8X increase in caregiver engagement, 25% increase in manager engagement, and a 4X increase in employee users in one week. And the ability to require feedback, keeps tabs on unresponsive employees who may be suffering.

Bipartisan Brokering: ResearchOpens a new window of 750 CIOs and 752 HR / internal comms respondents uncovered that disconnected leadership is hindering effective employee engagement. Creating cross-functional collaboration between IT, HR, and Comms allows them all to work productively and purposefully — especially important when crisis communications and safety protocol announcements are a daily occurrence.

HR needs to focus on providing solutions that work for every employee. This means investing in technology tools that:

  • address the new work-from-anywhere workforce
  • create two-way engaging conversations
  • personalize and target different audiences
  • utilize analytics to accelerate change and measure productivity, and unite leadership.

An effective digital employee experience will increase engagement and retention, and foster an inclusive culture. Ultimately it will allow employees to work productively and purposefully.