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Creating the Best Possible Workplace.

Creating a workplace that nurtures professionalism, excellence and a commitment to patient care is critical for hospitals and healthcare systems. But it’s not easy to develop staff and maintain high morale and standards while implementing efficiency measures, new patient care strategies, consolidations and changes in compensation and benefits.

Effective communications is essential to the success of these efforts. But frankly, human resources issues don’t always get needed communications support because of other hospital priorities for their marketing teams.

That’s why we work with so many hospital and health system Human Resources departments. We understand the importance of properly managing HR issues. We set out to resolve the “me” issues for employees so that they can turn their focus from their paychecks and insurance coverage charts to their patients.

Recent experience: Developed employee communications campaigns that defused potential labor issues before they became problems; developed internal and external recruiting material; created campaigns to build awareness, understanding and acceptance of a transition to market-based compensation; developed executive leadership communications development opportunities; provided collateral supporting nurse and other recruitment campaigns; developed branding and collateral to support a leadership development program.

Communications Help Employees Embrace Benefits Change

Situation: The Benefits Department at a community hospital was faced with delivering two challenging messages to deliver to employees during the annual open enrollment period. First, employees would be asked for the first time to complete their benefits enrollment using a new online system, which replaced the hospital’s paper-based enrollment process. Just as critical, employee contribution rates would be increasing substantially.

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Solution: Tipton Health Communications worked with the Benefits department to develop a comprehensive open enrollment communications strategy. Medical plans were re-branded to make it easier for employees to understand key plan attributes. Information was rewritten and reorganized to make it more accessible. Notices were sent at work and to the home. HR led an extensive education program including "lunch and learns" and tabling outside employee cafes. Key members of the leadership team were also recruited to support and explain the reasons for the changes.

Result: The number of employees who reviewed their benefits information and re-enrolled online leaped to 80%, the highest percentage that anyone in the Benefits Department could recall. Employees accepted the benefits contribution change without issue.

Shifting the Difference

Situation: A large hospital system had grown through acquisition over a number of years. As the system expanded, it adopted a market-based compensation philosophy. However shift differentials were never adjusted to market rates. In addition, there were inconsistencies in how shift differentials were applied across the system. The system’s Compensation Director decided to tackle the issue and develop one market-based shift differential plan that would be used for all employees across the system. The change impacted thousands of employees, some who would get increased shift differentials and some who would receive less. It was critical that employees clearly understood the change as well as the system’s rationale for making the change and the new process that they would be required to use. Concerned not only about the effect on morale but the potential for the compensation change to become a public issue, the hospital system reached out to Tipton Health Communications.

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Solution: Tipton facilitated a number of working meetings with Human Resources and department managers representing every hospital in the system as well as the major employee groups affected by the change. From these meetings, Tipton developed a comprehensive communications strategy and messaging. Tipton identified six different target groups and created customized plans for each. Tipton also provided counsel that led to a change in timing of the shift differential as well as increased transition compensation for those employees who would receive a smaller shift differential. Tipton’s strategy relied on clear, consistent messaging delivered in small group face-to-face meetings by the affected employees’ direct managers, who were supported by Human Resources team members. Managers were provided education as well as talking points. Companywide information was distributed after the face-to-face meetings took place.

Results: The hospital’s Compensation Director and Vice President of Human Resources reported that the communications campaign was completely successful. Employees reported that they understand the plan change and how it affected them. The Compensation department received only a handful of calls about the change. The issue was effectively managed internally and never became and external media problem.