At the last NHS Communicate event, we explored what your workforce tech is saying to your people. Led by Allocate’s Rupert Clarke and a panel of experts, we discussed what your technology says about your culture.
Rupert was joined by David Mulligan, Head of Workforce Systems and Development, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, Kirk Millis-Ward, Director of Communications and Engagement, Isle of Wight NHS Trust and Isle of Wight Council, and Rachel Royall, Managing Director and Founder, Blue Lozenge.
The last two and a half years have probably been the toughest for all communications professionals in living memory, not only have we been managing with the pandemic professionally, but it’s impacted on all aspects of our life. New comms channels and tech tools have been implemented at pace, leaders and managers have grappled with how to effectively introduce hybrid working and as communicators we’ve all been looking at how best we can support and communicate with workforces that seem remote and sometimes isolated.
Also across the health service, pandemic or not, we often hear about the workforces crisis. Challenges of retaining people, attracting talent, challenges with diversity, engagement. Addressing these issues can often fall to comms professionals, HR, clinical leads and a wide mix of other individuals. Communication in the NHS can’t therefore really be discussed outside of the context of culture and motivation.
Within this context during this session we explored the role that technology plays in communication and engagement in the NHS.
From the session, we wanted to share four key takeaways:
- Technology and communications are intertwined with your culture: If you have a policy of no phones during work but push communications via an app on your staff personal phones, that means you have a clash between your tech and culture. Consider reevaluating your policies so your tech and your culture can work together in harmony.
- Using the insight and data from two-way communications is key to influence change and improvements: Many organisations fear having comments sections on internal communications channels in case of bad reviews or comments. However, using this can be key to spotting trends from your workforce on what is not working and what you need to change to make improvements. Use the insight, act on it and follow up on the conversations.
- Integrate your communications with your workforce with tools that your staff are already using: If there is a piece of software that you know your workforce is naturally using all the time, whether it is something to do with a roster or requesting shifts, make sure you consider how you can align your communications with that.
- Culture architects can help to drive change in new channels: People are naturally reluctant to change so having influencers or ambassadors on board is key in adopting new ways of communicating. By finding those in your organisation that help to shape your culture for the positive and getting them on board, it will make adopting changes across your organisation easier.