Healthcare professionals have experienced a challenging couple of years. Throughout the industry, employees have suffered from low morale as systems struggled under the weight of a global pandemic, staffing shortages, and high turnover. These were the conditions that Hancock Health took into consideration as they looked for a program that would help them bring fun and encouragement to their team while increasing engagement with the workplace.

Hancock had already been working throughout the last couple years to make sure their associates felt appreciated as healthcare heroes. The executive team sent thank you notes and emails and made sure healthcare teams and support staff received treats, gifts, and other tokens of appreciation. But Hancock Health wanted to do more. So they asked Well Done to help create a program that would not only boost morale but also have a positive effect on employee retention.

We jumped at the chance to design a program to bring back a sense of belonging; to help associates remember why they chose to work at Hancock Health in a post-COVID world. Our work started by defining the objectives of the program and the associated campaign. With our client team at Hancock Health, we landed on four clear objectives: 

  • Unite associates across offices, departments, shifts, and teams.
  • Increase the awareness of the great things happening in the workplace, especially in terms of the great things associates were accomplishing.
  • Increase associate engagement with Hancock Health social media across the board.
  • Honor the lives of associates outside of work, in their communities, and with their families.

These were big goals to tackle especially without adding more work to associates’ plates. But Hancock Health already had a strong culture based around a value statement they call L.O.V.E.—Live Our Values Everyday—as well as several already established communication channels. 

So, Well Done started building a campaign around things Hancock Health was already doing, while ensuring the great work they were doing got acknowledged. We know that internal communications can be creative and strategic, it can connect team members to organizational values, and can be an effective way to shape culture. And this is the kind of work we do best. Thus, the Ambassador Program was born. 

Leaping into planning

We branded the group “Hank’s Army,” for the colorful frog that has served as their mascot for years. (Our team was delighted to point out that the term for a group of frogs is an “army,” like a group of whales is a “pod.” All that word trivia really can come in handy!) 

Each office and department was asked to nominate an Ambassador for Hank’s Army: someone who’s already the cheerleader and booster for the team. 

The program was designed with tiered rewards, and reaching the top tier could lead to getting a full day, or 8 hours, of PTO not just for Ambassadors but also for each member of the office staff, as well as other rewards along the way. Tiers encourage increasing levels of engagement with news, social media, internal programs, and messages throughout the year. All things that help build a strong organizational culture.

To get the program established, Well Done designed a short, online training program for Ambassadors. This included a social media toolkit and brand usage guide to ensure they speak with the voice of Hancock Health. Ambassadors also received custom swag and gear, and a field guide to keep on track. Every week, Ambassadors get a weekly newsletter, The Lily Pad, with news and updates, as well as a joke from Hank. This newsletter continues to go out on a weekly basis, ensuring that every member of the Hancock Health team gets the benefit of everything the health system does to make health possible. 

The ribbeting results

Hancock implemented the program in July of 2021. And already, the majority of Ambassadors are at least halfway through every available rewards tier. Ambassadors’ work has elicited more engagement on social media, more kudos shared on through the health system’s Motivosity program, and increased the engagement of associates with Hancock Health news and content. 

The Ambassadors also gave Hancock a chance to shine a light on the great work associates are doing outside of work, in the community. Hancock has received more than 20 stories about awesome associates that were featured in blog posts, videos, and more. The featured associates raise sheep, collect Legos, go on mission trips, and have adopted sisters from foster care, to name a few interesting ways they’re making a difference in the world. This program has given teams the chance to take pride in each other as whole people, spreading the L.O.V.E. on and off the clock.

The Lily Pad, which provides Hancock Health news and ways to share them in order to earn points for Ambassadors, has a weekly open rate of 70%, blowing the average rate for newsletters out of the water. 

The excitement, more than the metrics, shows just how fun and effective internal communications can be while building a culture that really connects with team members and shows them L.O.V.E. With the Ambassador program in place, Hancock Health is developing a more engaged, connected community of associates. Our next goal? To help attract new job applicants to join the team that makes health possible for East Central Indiana.