Every day when I pick up industry news, I’m bombarded with stories of layoffs, budget cuts and even hospital closings. These are very uncertain times in the healthcare industry and can put healthcare workers on edge, worrying about job security. This is completely understandable when you consider job security in context of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs. The most basic need is physical (food, shelter, water) followed by safety – both of which are threatened in the face of job loss. If someone is worried about job security it’s difficult to be at their best for the patients or other customers. If your organization is going through change, it’s important to be as transparent as possible. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
This is difficult for senior leaders because, even though you want to be transparent, you may not feel like you have enough concrete facts to share. It’s a fine line to walk, but remaining silent for too long can breed distrust.
I vividly recall a time when my CEO reported an abysmal financial picture to all employees at a town hall meeting. People were openly shocked because the previous CEO had always painted a rosy picture of rainbows and unicorns. He hadn’t been honest because he didn’t want people to worry. Instead they were blindsided.
If you don’t know what to say or how to say it, get advice. There are great communication experts out there who can help you craft and execute a solid strategic communication plan. If people are united around the mission, vision and values you’ll have a strong foundation. Remind them that despite any uncertainty happening behind the scenes, one thing that remains true is that today your doors will open and patients will enter in search of care and we must all be at our best – for them.