In today’s environment of limited hospital resources, it’s critical to make meaningful and cost-effective connections with those we serve. Although budgets may be tight, one thing many hospitals have in abundance is employees.Leveraging Employees and their Community Relationships
In 2016, as part of the planning and budgeting process, the community relations team at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago began to consider how to enhance community engagement and build deeper relationships by partnering with employees who were involved in local schools, faith groups, cultural associations or neighborhood organizations.
“We realized we had an untapped resource, and our employees were eager to leverage their relationships to extend and grow the hospital’s outreach into our service area,” says Jenise Celestin, director of community relations at Swedish Covenant. “We devised a plan to empower our staff to build bridges between our hospital and local communities. We call these special individuals our ‘community ambassadors.’”
According to Celestin, a community ambassador program embraces employees as unique individuals whose contributions are valued. It allows organizations to recognize highly engaged employees as peer influencers while simultaneously strengthening relationships among the hospital’s neighbors. Just one year after launching the program, it has doubled in size to include 40 employee ambassadors. The initial cost to activate the program was less than $2,000, and the hospital plans to invest $10,000–$15,000 in 2018 for complementary initiatives.Enhance Your Brand!
Here are some reasons to create an ambassador program for your organization:
- Catalyze engagement among employees and celebrate their unique connections
- Leverage diversity of thought and experience to inspire new ideas and opportunities
- Enhance support among influential stakeholders through socialization and coalition building
- Mobilize stakeholders around a common goal to improve the health of the surrounding community
- Improve community awareness about key hospital initiatives
In the November/December issue of Spectrum, Celestine shares her recipe for activating ambassador influence.
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SHSMD members, read the full article: From Hospital Employee to Brand Ambassador: Building Bridges within the Community and Enhancing Your Brand.
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