12 July 2012

NHS in the new world – change communications

On Wednesday evening members of the Synergy team attended the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s event on change communications.

The speaker for the event was Joanne Brandon who is the NHS Programme Director for communications across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. The event was hosted by Sam from the Synergy team at Bristol Golf Club.

The NHS are at the forefront of government reform which is happening against a backdrop of funding cuts and removal of management roles. Joanne spoke about the changes overall and what the impact and challenges have been at a local level and how in terms of communications they have responded.

Here are some of Joanne’s key points on change communications:

  • Don’t assume everyone has the same level of knowledge. Staff read articles but don’t necessarily understand them.
  • Form a comms user group to seek advice.
  • Keep in contact with staff even when there is nothing to say. Be honest when there is no news.
  • Have open, honest & timely communications. Joanne has a golden rule in her department that there are no secrets and therefore no surprises!
  • Don’t rely on senior managers in isolation to communicate change. Use multi-layer comms.
  • Actively engage with senior and middle managers to empower them to deliver messages.
  • Enable staff to celebrate and say goodbye especially if they are moving to new offices, departments or organisations. People often have an emotional attachment to places where they have worked, especially if it’s been for a long time.
  • Get people from HR or comms departments to meet people in coffee or breakout areas to answer questions – use people who are familiar faces as people will feel more comfortable to have a dialogue with them.

It was a really informative evening and Mel from the Synergy team also said a few words about how Synergy worked with Joanne and her team in shaping their communications.

The next CIM event is entitled Will Facebook buy the Sun?- A media debate on the future of online and offline communications on 12th Sep 2012 at The Grand by Thistle in Bristol.

For more information contact Sam on 0117 962 1534

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