Internal Communications Design

Communicators walk a fine line in business literacy campaign

Visual theme supported light humor to drive home ways staff can help achieve transformation goals.

Horizon 2020 Acceleration - Logo -

Here’s a quick internal communication lesson: When employees understand the nuts and bolts of how the business works, they are better equipped to look at their own work and see how doing things differently than they have been can contribute to the achievement of organizational goals. That was the idea behind Dignity Health’s “Squirrels and Toasters” campaign, which has won first place in the “Internal Communication Design” category of PR Daily’s 2018 Video & Visual Awards.

The health care system—one of the nation’s largest—was undergoing a transformation effort called Horizon 2020 (aka H2020 Acceleration), designed to employ a more metric-based approach to achieving better patient outcomes and experiences. To support the effort and build long-term employee commitment, staff member Anissa Routon guided the development of a campaign featuring big, bold graphics that helped build employee literacy around the business impact of ground-level actions.

Dignity Health notes this mean the average nurse or aide could contribute by clocking in and out on time, keeping inventory in stock rooms, washing their hands every time they saw a patient and taking better care of equipment so it would last longer. Not wanting to be condescending, but seeking to capture employee attention, the visuals are big, bold and colorful (adopting a color palette for the program), supporting business concepts employees could understand and then translate into action.

“A toaster is not a hammer,” one headline declares (with a graphic of a toaster above it), noting that every piece of equipment has a specific purpose. If you want to hang up a picture, you don’t bring a toaster to get the job done. Then it offers ideas of how this concept applies to a hospital (use paper towels, not a washcloth, to clean up a spill). “When you don’t use supplies we paid for and also pay for others we don’t really need, it’s hard to keep costs down,” the poster states.

Umbrellas, the space shuttle, a VCR cassette and other graphics—all clearly part of a design suite—drew attention to a campaign that produced genuine business results, like an improvement in patient experience and EBITDA margin.

Congratulations to Dignity Health’s Anissa Routon.

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