Mergers are tough. Organizations with different cultures, different objectives and staffs that don’t know one another often clash. The opposite was the case when North Bay General Hospital and Northeast Mental Health Centre joined to become the North Bay Regional Health Centre. The success of this merger has earned the NBRHC’s Communications Department first place as “Team of the Year” in PR Daily’s 2017 Nonprofit PR Awards.
The two PR departments joined forces. Despite staffing cuts that affected departments across the system, the team dug in to serve the needs of 2,100 staff members, 300 volunteers and 150 doctors. The department’s regular cycle of work ensured that integrated and consistent communication helped stakeholders understand the Centre’s direction, services and programs.
The team set out to do more than meet the demands of day-to-day communication, though. It developed a new strategy, took steps to improve the Centre’s annual report, communicated NBRHC’s 2017-2019 strategic plan, began tracking how much earned media produced positive or neutral sentiment (89 percent, according to their analysis) and tracked the number of “pull hours” the staff devoted to managing unplanned issues, initiatives and events (250 hours, as it turns out) to demonstrate the value of this “invisible work.”
The group also produced a pediatric surgery video that’s earned more than 5,000 YouTube views (very high for this kind of production); it produced the video for $25, the cost of licensing the background music.
For tackling this daunting work with such professionalism and delivering commendable results, congratulations to Kim McElroy, Lindsay Smylie Smith, Taylor Grant, Brooks Tuckett and Lance Belanger.