Improving healthcare for your employees is an exciting accomplishment that delivers impressive long-term returns in both overall costs and health outcomes. Getting the word out to your workforce, so they understand the changes and how to take advantage of their new benefits, is necessary to the program’s success.
Doing so effectively will not only help to reduce the stress of the transition, but also inspire greater employee satisfaction and loyalty. Below, we’ll provide a helpful guide to communicating with your employees about their new clinic.
Have a communication strategy in place
Before announcing anything, establish the how, when, and where you’ll tell employees about their new clinic, its benefits, and how it all fits into their healthcare plan. Determine what information will be provided, at which stages, to avoid overwhelming or confusing anyone.
Keep communication straightforward and, if possible, address only one topic at a time. For example, if you’re announcing that new clinical services will soon be available, stay focused on that. Don’t overload your team with too much information at once, especially if that information won’t become applicable until later.
Follow best practices to make sure you’re communicating effectively in a way that’s clear and helpful. This includes building messaging that is both internally consistent and aligned with the company’s mission, culture, and direction.
Introduce and frame benefit changes
The best way to get your employees on board with the new clinic and healthcare model is to ensure that they understand how these changes will benefit them. Rather than relying on statistics or impenetrable medical jargon, frame benefits in ways that are easy to understand, such as:
- Little to no cost per visit
- Less time spent waiting for an appointment
- Increased access to providers and primary care teams
- Receiving most of the healthcare they need in one convenient location
- Not being bounced around from specialist to specialist
- Convenient online tools and telehealth options
- Health coaching, disease management, behavioral health, and other services to improve their quality of life
Anticipate and answer questions
You know your people best. Therefore, you can anticipate some of the questions you’ll receive from employees who have concerns or just want to better understand how this change will affect them and their dependents.
Consider building the answers into your communication strategy, either as part of an internal email, FAQ, dedicated section in the company intranet, or standalone website. Make sure these resources can be easily accessed and referenced to streamline your employees’ search for answers. Add to the list as you notice patterns in the questions and comments you’re hearing.
As time goes on, this information can be used in follow-up emails reminding current employees about clinic services and to onboard new hires who have questions about their health benefits.
Create public vs. private channels for discussion
When announcing the new clinic and upcoming changes to the workforce, make sure your employees have a point person or internal team to contact privately with questions. Understandably, many will be reluctant to broach sensitive topics in front of coworkers and will need a way to get clarification or provide feedback.
The flow of information shouldn’t only go in one direction. Being receptive to employee input and their concerns further reinforces their value to the company and builds trust and confidence.
Ensure long-term success
Keep awareness high with regular updates regarding services and benefits. This also gives you the chance to encourage employees who have been putting off checkups or not engaging fully with the range of services meant to help them enjoy longer, healthier lives.
Send follow-up emails or companywide memos to encourage employees to sign up for screenings and educational sessions, or schedule their initial visits. Offer meaningful reasons to use the clinic. Once they become familiar with the new system and experience the difference in care, it will become more natural for them to regularly engage with their provider and the rest of the primary care team, and eventually, have the confidence to take charge of their own health.
Communication is key at every stage of a new health benefit program, not just at clinic launch. Make sure you have a strategy for each step to help to maximize employee participation and ROI.
Interested in learning more about this process? Download our ebook A Strategic Guide To Planning And Launching An Onsite Clinic.