There is no lack of information in our lives today — from email and internet to smartphones and smart homes. It can be difficult to sort through the traffic and identify the information we really need.
In the workplace, the constant deluge of “important” communications can numb us to all but the most critical or forceful of communications, resulting in a workforce feeling overwhelmed and operating without awareness of the organization’s key objectives.
Put together a plan
To combat information overload and ensure employees are working toward your organization’s mission and key objectives, it’s a good idea to implement a streamlined communications strategy. At Molina Healthcare of Ohio we have had to be creative and thoughtful about how messages are communicated to staff.
If a communications plan hasn’t been part of your management strategy in the past, it might be time to consider one. A great way to assess whether your organization might benefit from an integrated plan like the one we implemented at Molina is to conduct an assessment or employee survey to assess awareness of critical topics.
The strategy we have in place at Molina is structured around how much employees already knew and also takes into account their stated communication preferences. At the end of the year, we will reassess employee awareness to gauge how well the strategy is working.
Determine content, channels
In many organizations, employees are overwhelmed by email noise in the form of all-staff emails and e-newsletters, so it is worthwhile to explore other communication vehicles for critical messaging. It’s important to assess not only what messages should be sent to employees, but what the most effective means of conveying these might be.
Some communication strategies that could be part of an integrated plan include:
- A monthly reception with management and employees to celebrate with those receiving service recognition or celebrating a work anniversary.
- An Ask the Leader blog featured on an employee-only site, where employees can post anonymous questions to get answers to queries they might not otherwise have an opportunity to ask.
- Quarterly town halls to update staff about important topics.
- Roundtable lunches where employees meet with a small group of leaders to learn about key projects and ask questions.
- A once-monthly email where a member of the executive team shares a topic selected from the organization’s chosen key messages. This effort not only keeps those key messages top of mind, but also builds familiarity with leadership — especially if a bio and a photo of the team leaders are included.
By outlining the content you hope to share, the delivery objectives (timely, convenient, etc.) and the best channels through which to convey that content, you can streamline your organizational communications and reduce the volume of noise generated.
As we have implemented our own plan, Molina employees have reported increased awareness of key messages and feelings of being more included in the day-to-day operations of our business. When staff feels involved and informed, productivity and morale both improve.
Ami Cole is the President of Molina Healthcare of Ohio, the state’s second largest Medicaid Managed Care Plan with 337,000 members. Ami has more than 17 years of health care experience, including nearly 10 years at Molina, before rising to become president. She is also active in the community, serving as a board member for the nonprofit After-School All-Stars.