The nation's largest non-profit health insurer, representing three major Blue Cross-Blue Shield plans with eight million members, recently teamed up with Dulye & Co. to raise the levels of voice and engagement of its 13,000 employees as part of a major 2-way communications improvement initiative.
The organization offers customers a non-profit alternative to their health care needs. But with the consolidation of health care markets in the early 2000s, it faced unprecedented change in regulation, cost structures and physician/patient relationships. It needed to improve internal communications in order to sustain growth, develop new products, deliver excellent customer service and develop and retain employees.
Knowing that it wasn't a Corporate Communications or Human Resources challenge, the organization hired Dulye & Co. to implement our award-winning Communications Improvement Planning (CIP) process - an improvement program specifically designed to enhance 2-way communications performance.
Our initial survey of employees at this organization found a severe deficit in cross-team/cross-department/cross-divisional communications, senior management visibility and credibility, as well as communications accountability. Each of these communications deficiencies was having direct and indirect impacts on the ability of employees, managers, leaders and teams to work effectively together in pursuit of Corporate goals and objectives.
Dulye & Co. coached senior leaders, helping them set clear expectations for 2-way communications; provide the tools, resources and environment for improvement; and hold employees and managers for performance against goals.
We then worked directly with 16 teams of employees who brainstormed communications problems and potential solutions. Each team made detailed improvement recommendations to leadership - more than 75 communications improvement ideas - who in turn, made same-day decisions and empowered the teams to implement their ideas. Today, these teams are implementing nearly 70 percent of their proposed ideas!
In order to make best use of available resources, Dulye & Co. also introduced a master implementation planning tool that consolidated recommendations to ensure no duplication of efforts, as well an innovative scorecard system that helped track progress against specific goals, timelines and deadlines.
The organization's leaders, who worked side-by-side with employees throughout the entire CIP process, incorporated regular reviews of this progress in their normal staff meetings, demonstrating that communications is not separate from normal business operations - it is an integral part of the process that enables success in all other areas of business performance.
After 14 months of improvement efforts, increases of 20% and more were achieved in trust in senior leadership, employee knowledge about the customer and health care industry, communications quality (specifically, timeliness), and lateral communications between departments and locations.
If your organization is facing serious workplace barriers - such as poor cross-department communications, senior leadership invisibility or message inconsistency - our CIP process can help. With a goal of bringing front-line managers-and employees-into the development and decision-making roles of change initiatives, we will help you develop, implement and sustain action plans for improving communications.