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April 8, 2019

Complexity is the New Normal in Healthcare Communications Today


Whether you are a highly matrixed, multisite healthcare system undergoing a merger, or global pharmaceutical or medical device company expanding its portfolio, the common thread is complexity. 

Even with such rampant murkiness, one thing is very clear: good employee communication can turn strategy into action and keep employees focused on what matters, help them navigate through the change, and minimize disruption that can slow productivity, performance and engagement.

Employee Communication and the Bottom Line 

But is it clear just how BIG of an impact quality employee communication can have on the bottom-line results for your healthcare organization? 

Part of the problem is executives often measure communication in terms of inputs (the number of emails sent, or town halls hosted) rather than by the one metric that actually counts – how well employees understand what’s communicated, and act on it. 

While healthcare will always be complex, there’s a real opportunity to ease one area of complexity by making internal communication a top priority. Sadly, internal communication often is overlooked or undervalued. But the reality is, effective internal communications in organizations can contribute to:

  • Engagement
  • Productivity, and
  • Organizational performance. 

Leaders Should Take Action

Leaders in healthcare would be wise to seize the day and take action to make internal communications work even harder in their organizations and contribute even more to organizational goals – whether it’s:

  • Upgrading channels and messages to be more audience-focused
  • Using communication to connect employees to organizational priorities
  • Building a function from the ground up, or
  • Transforming the function from a good one to a great one. 

Good internal communication gets the message out. Great internal communication helps employees connect the dots between overarching business strategy and their role. When the communication is good, it informs. When it’s great, it engages employees and moves them to action. 

Quite simply, internal communication that’s executed well helps people and organizations be even better. Despite all the new and timely communication channels – flurries of emails, meetings, intranets and more – research shows that the majority of companies aren’t getting through to employees to help them connect the dots. 

Why Strategies Fail 

In an article for the Harvard Business Review, researchers Donald Sull, Rebecca Homkes and Charles Sull highlighted poor communication as one of the key reasons that strategies fail. 

“In other words, when leaders charged with explaining strategy to the troops are given five chances to list their company’s strategic objectives, nearly half fail to get even one right.” 

The researchers go on to say the issue isn’t with a lack of communication. Instead, it’s a problem with the communication not being great – it’s not about what really matters. Add this to the ever-changing dynamics of the healthcare industry, from the regulatory environment to patient-care models, and you have a recipe for disaster in the form of misinformation and information overload that can lead to poor employee engagement, retention, and even recruitment. 

For more on how to communicate with impact inside healthcare and to get actionable tips and strategies you can apply right away, downloaded our new free eBook by clicking the image below.


How has complexity in the healthcare industry affected your strategy communications? 

—David Grossman 

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