The importance of internal communications in healthcare marketing

Making the most of your employer brand

More and more health systems are consolidating, and the healthcare industry is changing dramatically. With change can come dissatisfaction in the workplace. But creating and retaining a happy workplace is critical to healthcare marketing as your employer brand can emanate outward to how people perceive your external brand. According to Prophet and GE, “People—staff and employees—need to feel empowered since they play a critical role with customers. When they are happy, patients are happy.”

Employer brand and the bottom line
Your employer brand is as critical as your external brand—there is a solid link between employee and customer satisfaction. According to Glassdoor, “Each 1-star improvement in an employer’s Glassdoor company rating out of 5 is associated with a statistically significant 1.3-point increase in customer satisfaction out of 100. The effect is more than twice as large (each 1-star improvement in employee satisfaction predicts a 3.2-point increase in customer satisfaction) for companies in ‘high customer contact’ sectors where customers routinely interact with employees: Retail, food services, tourism, financial services, and healthcare.”

Employer brand defined
Wikipedia defines an employer brand as “an organization’s reputation as an employer, and its value proposition to its employees, as opposed to its more general corporate brand reputation and value proposition to customers.” Employer brands speak volumes to potential employees and customers because messages tend to feel more authentic and real than those driven from marketing.

Positive employer brands are perceived as more trustworthy—and can contribute to growth. According to LinkedIn, companies on LinkedIn with a strong Talent Brand Index (TBI) grew 20 percent faster than their counterparts with a weaker talent brand.

How to build your employer brand
Just like external efforts, your employer brand approach should be rooted in strategy. What are you trying to achieve? Goals can include better scores on internal surveys, better time-to-fill open positions, or an influx in applications in a particular part of the country or service area. Define your target persona, messaging, and touchpoints just as you would for a public-facing campaign.

Touting amazing benefits, competitive salaries, and hands-on leadership will not only help draw in new hires, making recruiters’ jobs a lot easier, but it will help retain current employees. Building and cultivating a positive employer brand is about having a culture of shared values: an all-for-one and one-for-all approach to the workplace.

Following are some touchpoints to consider:

  • Intranet
  • Internal social media channel
  • Employee newsletter
  • Bulletin boards in employee spaces
  • One-on-one trainings or seminars

Showcase your employer brand externally
Though the focus of employer brand efforts is internal, shining a spotlight on happy employees externally can help you tell your larger brand story. Consider asking employees to post to the organization’s social media account, write a blog about their employment experience, or comment about the workplace on an externally-facing video.

No matter the approach you use, just make sure that your employer brand strategy is focused on the goals that matter most to your organization. And don’t forget to measure efforts as you would any campaign. Measurement, via internal surveys, monitoring engagement on internal social channels, or noting participation numbers at a training, is the only way you’ll know whether you moved the needle—and what to change, if anything, next time.

Market to patients like customers