Creating ambassadors internally can play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between the organizational vision and the patient experience.
Healthcare organizations continue to face an ever-evolving landscape of challenges and opportunities. As you strive to provide the best possible care to patients, one crucial aspect often overlooked is the role of your internal team. Creating ambassadors internally can play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between the organizational vision and the patient experience. All too often organizations put external marketing above internal communications. As important as marketing is, that creates a divide as consumers/patients expect one thing and may experience something very different when interacting with the organization and its people.
In this article, we will delve into the importance of creating internal ambassadors within your healthcare organization, and how a robust onboarding process and a well-structured communication plan can empower your team to become strong brand advocates, driving awareness, preference, and growth.
As digital access and usage continues to grow it is very clear that the patient experience is paramount. Reviews are the number one online resource for patients looking for a healthcare provider, with 74% saying positive reviews are extremely important in their decision-making process. And if you have ever spent time reading online reviews for healthcare organizations you will immediately note the majority are not about the care received, but about the experience they had with the practice.
A positive patient experience is directly related to an organization's reputation and revenue. To achieve success, it is crucial for healthcare organizations to cultivate a strong team of internal ambassadors.
Understanding the organizational vision: When you take the time to share with your team where the organization is currently AND where it's heading, the opportunities for engagement and support become endless. They gain a deep grasp of the organization's mission, values, and long-term objectives. This understanding is vital for aligning the entire team and creating a unified focus on achieving organizational goals.
Identifying strengths and gaps: With an eye on achieving goals, your internal ambassadors are more likely to actively assess the organization's processes, identifying areas of success and those that require improvement. This feedback loop is invaluable for continuous quality enhancement within healthcare organizations.
Enhancing brand advocacy: When employees truly connect with the organization's mission and vision, they become enthusiastic brand advocates. Their commitment shines and they are more likely to appropriately promote their organization's services and values, contributing to a positive external brand image.
Creating internal ambassadors begins with a robust onboarding process. Employees who have effective onboarding feel up to 18x more commitment to their workplace. Many healthcare organizations invest significantly in recruitment but often fall short when it comes to the crucial onboarding phase. If your organization isn’t looking at the timeline in which employees are hired and identifying gaps, you will continue to struggle in this competitive job market.
Here are some things to consider when gauging your organizations onboarding programs and procedures:
It is also recommended that you consider creating a consistent compensation model which creates greater opportunities for transparent employee communications and employee development plans.
Continuing to have candid and regular communications with your organization allows you to take a pulse and ensure everyone continues to row in the same direction. This transparency builds trust and keeps employees informed.
Healthcare organizations face unique challenges with communications as most of the team is engaged in patient care throughout the day, so they are not sitting at a computer checking emails regularly. Using a variety of communication tools will increase the likelihood your messages are read.
A well-structured communication plan is the backbone of every successful organization. To be effective, you will want to strategically think through the following:
A recent MGMA poll found that staffing continues to be the biggest priority for practice leaders. Healthcare organizations that invest in creating internal ambassadors are poised for long term success. These dedicated individuals will support the organization's vision, actively contribute to its improvement, and wholeheartedly advocate for its brand. They can be the driving force behind delivering best in class patient experiences.
By starting with a strong onboarding process and implementing a structured communication plan, healthcare organizations can nurture a culture of collaboration, engagement, and excellence. In doing so, they ensure that every patient encounter is nothing less than exceptional. Internal ambassadors are the key to achieving this vision, and organizations that harness their potential will thrive in the ever-competitive healthcare landscape.
Kirstan Cecil is the founder and CEO of KC Business Growth Consultancy, a company that specializes in strategic marketing plans, customer journey mapping and internal communications and engagement programs.She can be reached at email@example.com.
Helen Combs is the founder and CEO of HBC Consultancy, a company that specializes in strategic planning and growth, medical practice and clinical research development and expansion and driving best of class experiences for customers, patients, employees, and referral partners.She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.