For healthcare leaders, the expectations are constantly changing. It’s no longer enough just to keep the trains running; CIOs need to know where the trains should be going — and figure out how to get them there.
That means taking an active approach and presenting solutions to problems that affect not just IT, but other departments as well. One of those problems is employee engagement, said Vishwa Malhotra, Co-Founder and CTO of MangoApps. During a recent panel discussion, he cited engagement as a top priority for CIOs and other leaders, particularly as organizations continue to offer remote and hybrid options, which rely heavily on email as a form of communication.
This, according to Jonathan Hensley, Director of User Experience with TeamHealth, can leave teams feeling like they’re “being left out in the cold,” due to the limitations email has in terms of access, functionality, and security. “We needed another path.”
That’s where MangoApps’ employee experience platform can make an impact, noted Malhotra. The HITRUST-certified digital work hub aims to provide an integrated experience for remote and in-house employees, and subsequently, generate boosts in productivity and retention.
There’s also another benefit. By presenting solutions like MangoApps that “challenge the status quo,” CIOs can help other CXOs attain their objectives. When that happens, “they’re no longer a cost center; they’re making decisions that connect them with their enterprise’s goals.”
“Limitation of reach”
They’re also helping to identify pain points. For TeamHealth, a company that provides staffing and administrative support and management to practices, clinics, and hospitals, engagement can be particularly challenging, according to Hensley. “Our clinicians go to work, day after day, for different companies, and they need to access email for their daily jobs and alerts,” he said.
Further complicating matters is the fact that a large portion of frontline workers don’t have a corporate email address, noted Malhotra. And those that do rarely have the time to sift through hundreds or even thousands of messages. “It’s a limitation of reach.”
Of course, there are other obstacles with email, such as cybersecurity risks, licensing fees, and a lack of insights into the user experience. “Even if they’re able to send emails through distribution lists, they get minimal data on how employees engage with the information that’s provided in the email,” Malhotra stated. As a result, “they start to depend on IT and other integrations with business intelligence tools — assuming they have the time and resources — to gain insights. That’s another reason why there’s a desire for something better than email.”
Control and collaboration
Hensley agreed, noting that platforms like MangoApps enable users to see which messages people interact with most, giving them a sense of control. “They want to consume that content in whatever platform they want, and whatever cadence they want, in a more asynchronous way.”
Another benefit is collaboration, which can happen in a more robust way through methods like file-sharing and co-editing of documents. “Those are huge productivity boosts, as opposed to forwarding attachments.”
And, unlike with email, engagement platforms enable senders to edit communications even after they’re sent, rather than using ‘reply all’ to correct broken links. “There’s more efficiency with these modern platforms,” said Hensley.
Not to be overlooked is security, which can be a sticking point, particularly clinicians who hesitate to hand over their phones. “They like their privacy,” he said, and therefore are more likely to adopt an app-based platform with security software baked in. “We can wipe everything in the app. We can’t remove it from your phone, but we can log you out and clear the cache. And so, we still have the same level of security, but in an app-based security model instead of a device-based security model.”
It’s been nothing short of a “godsend,” said Hensley. “It would be much harder if we had to convince people to install security apps. Having it all in one place is definitely easier.”
What’s never easy, however, is the implementation. And although no two experiences will ever be the same, there are steps leaders can take to guide the process along.
- Take it slow. Hensley’s team made it a point not to rush the deployment, which he said served his team well. “We took our time and were very intentional about how we rolled it out,” going department by department to ensure users were comfortable with it.” Over time, they introduced enhancements and scaled up slowly, rather than “trying to eat the whole elephant at once.”
- Ask questions. With any rollout, it’s important to establish tangible goals, such as improving customer or patient experience, and monitor progress, according to Malhotra. The best way to do this? By asking questions during the onboarding process. For example, are your customer or patient-facing teams reading critical updates that are sent through email? Are these teams out of sync? Do they feel they are fully informed? How much time is wasted looking for resources and information? How many systems do people go through to find this information? What’s their level of frustration?
- Identify pain points. By asking these types of questions, MangoApps can identify pain points and develop best practices in areas like communication, collaboration, and engagement. If the outcome is improving customer and patient experience, for example, “We’ll map and show how teams can get faster access to the most up-to-date, trustworthy information without passing it off, and how to save time so they can focus on their primary job, which is providing better customer and patient experience,” he said.
- Map communications. From there, MangoApps is also able to show that “communications teams who are creating the content no longer need to depend on technical resources to target customer facing and patient care teams,” which can help reduce operational IT costs while also increasing engagement. By “mapping the communication to an organizational priority, we’re able to get better adoption and engagement rates,” he said.
- Line up a team. It’s important to have a solid governance team in place with representation from various areas, including clinical, IT, communications, marketing, finance, and more, said Malhotra. “Multiple people need to own this in order for it to be effective and to get a return on your investment.”
- Don’t let up. Once the platform is implemented and processes are in place, it’s important to keep striving for improvement, said Hensley, whose team performs continual self-assessments and checks in with other organizations to see how their metrics measure up. “You have to keep your foot on the gas,” he noted. “You can’t let it fall to the background and assume it’s going to take care of itself.”
Finally, the panelists urged leaders to “be intentional” when selecting, rolling out, and utilizing employee engagement platforms, and be aware that “it’s different from email,” said Hensley. “The way you create content is different. The way people consume content is different with these modern platforms.” The faster clinicians and other staffers can consume content, “the more engagement you’re going to have, and the less people will tune you out.”
Having a platform that prioritizes messages to provide the best experience for users, while also enabling team leaders to gain insights into usage, can give organizations a leg up, he believes. “It helps you to plan and strategize around how you communicate with your users.”
To view the archive of this webinar — Beyond Email and SharePoint: Strategies for Increasing Employee Communication & Engagement (Sponsored by MangoApps) — please click here.