We look forward to the yearly Employee Engagement survey and shake our heads in wonder when the results point to “not enough communication from leaders!” This is despite quarterly All Staff mtgs, a mostly monthly newsletter, staff mtgs, supervisor’s wkly Big Rocks or Need to Know communication, wkly IDG mtgs, and tons of emails!
“…job satisfaction in health-care organizations is related to many factors: effective communication among staff and supervisors...” (1)
So, what is missing? The Weekly Update!
A Weekly update to All Staff & Volunteers can be a powerful tool for the leader to be in touch with all staff in a personal and meaningful way. Hat's off to Christy Whitney, CEO at Hope West, who mentioned this to me about 10 years ago. She was right - it is one of a leader’s most powerful tools to communicate information, important updates, celebrate / recognize staff & vols, and a tangible way to transmit the culture you want to promote and to bring necessity to the goals you must achieve.
Suggested Outline (7-8 topics in bullet form when possible)
- Update on census for all programs: (Hospice, PC, Transitions, MCCM, Homecare, Care Navigation, IPU - can highlight one per week.) Appreciate any particular happenings in the area of growth. If census is down - explain why and what is planned. If census is going strong and staff are struggling - note that too.
- Staffing update if appropriate: Announce newly arriving key staff or key leaving staff who are leaving or retiring, etc. (Don't announce every coming and going…)
- Insert kudos: Highlight and underline staff names and took care to spell names correctly. If you have a picture - attach when possible (only one - not a ton).
- Challenges you have heard about and want to clarify: Examples – Pay raise timing, Staffing is lagging and caseloads are higher than intended, Length of stay is lower, Competitor info – at a level that is relevant to all staff/vols.
- Upcoming week or projects: Examples– Open Enrollment, pay raises in effect, finish your Relias, State survey expected, new marijuana law going into effect, etc. This is where you can announce a new office/checkpoint, updates on the new building project or plans to start providing service in a new territory, etc.
- Update on CAHPS / HIS: Once a month, give recognition to the team with the best scores or most improved, ect.
- Update on Pillar Goals: Provide brief status once monthly.
- Cool or fun update from the world of hospice/PC: Research snippet or innovation or new reg, etc.
CAUTION: Not all are cut out for this commitment!
Requires time set aside – plan on 1-2 hours.
Consider starting to do this monthly - then every other week.
Finally - weekly will feel necessary - there is so much to communicate and celebrate! In fact, if I missed a week - it was harder to gather all the relevant info concisely and to be timely.
- Create an email folder called "Wkly Update" with ideas, emails with subjects you want to address in the wkly update or use your One Note.
- Ask leaders to send you snippets of great work in action or topics to include.
- On the appointed day - review all the ideas, kudos, and topics and insert into your document.
- Edit and re-edit. Send email to All Staff/Vol distribution list or other appropriate channel.
- Keep in mind HIPAA, what if competitors got this email, and employee privacy requirements.
- Another idea: Do a wkly video update!
You forget to mention someone? They'll let you know and you can correct next week. Better to do this and not be perfect - than not attempt at all!
This communication does not need to be PERFECT. Your particular "voice" in the email is important. As the leader, your connection with staff and volunteers is vital and they really appreciate the regular communication.
When you go on vacation - don't do it! You are role-modeling being away and not working. Let them know you will be gone, and they are in good hands Note the person(s) to contact in your absence.
Here's one of my favorite memories of the impact of the Wkly Updates:
One of our team members in the admissions office had been struggling with performance. His supervisor worked diligently with him and at one point, the employee shared he had a goal to "be recognized in the wkly update."
A few months later, it was my pleasure to mention him because of his great work creating a new process for insurance verification that had been super tricky. I didn't know showing up in the Wkly Update had been his goal until his supervisor told me how happy he was to have not only been successful - but also acknowledged 😊
Chief Clinical Operations Officer
Teleios University (TU)
Program Launch: January 20-21, 2020
An organizational model that allows not-for-profit hospices (Members) to leverage best practices, achieve economies of scale and collaborate in ways that better prepare each agency to participate in emerging alternative payment models and advance their charitable missions.
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