Having led marketing and communications in a few healthcare organizations, I still practically break out in hives when I hear an employee or physician say, “Nobody tells me anything around here.” It brings back memories of times when we’d published numerous articles in the newsletter, sent email blasts and served up clear talking points for managers, only to hear this type of comment.
It was after hearing this type of lamentation for about the millionth time that I had an epiphany. I realized that these types of comments were evidence of victim-thinking. The people making these statements were positioned as passive recipients of information rather than active information-seekers. The culture was allowing people to be “victims” of poor communication, making the Marketing Department into the guilty party.
Work to create a culture where people are expected to stay informed as part of the job responsibilities. Set the expectation during orientation as part of their behavioral standards. Teach people about the communication channels available to them, and how they can access key information. Encourage them to seek information and ask questions. Good citizens of the culture take an active role in staying informed.
Because communication is a two-way street, leaders must provide multiple communications channels for information dissemination, and, at the same time, set expectations that everyone become active participants in the process. Active information-seekers are never victims of poor communication.