Communication: the secret to successful new working partnerships

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The secret to developing successful new working partnerships and organisational forms is based on one single word – communication.

The subject of which could not be more poignant than in the healthcare sector at the moment.

The health and social care market is currently undergoing one of its largest ever whole system changes, with the systematic roll-out of more integrated, streamlined and joined-up care. This in turn is naturally leading to the development of new organisational forms, including the development of GP Federations and Super Practices, new community providers, new integrated organisations and partnerships etc etc - the breadth and combination of organisational forms is almost mind-blowing.

However, all of these new organisations (in whichever guise) have one necessary ingredient required to make them successful: effective communication.

Communication is the most fundamental part of any new business relationship. The strength of the relationship between business partners, members and staff is a major determining factor in the success of the business as a whole.

It is therefore crucial that all partners, members and staff are constantly engaged. If not, the danger is that people will not have the opportunity to, or feel able to debate, share comments and concerns, or voice their opinions, and as a result the fledgling entity will be in trouble.

There are a couple of key tips on how to ensure that communication and engagement is optimised within new teams to achieve the best outcomes:

  • Set a clear organisational vision, mission, objectives and goals

  • Have a continuous, open dialogue with partners, members and staff to ensure that everyone is on the same page, knows what they are responsible for and is expected of them, and what everyone is working on

  • Acknowledge differences in traits and personalities of the new ‘team’.

Open, honest and ongoing two-way dialogue is therefore crucial as it helps to reduce the risk of assumptions and encourages people to stay focused on the shared vision. It also minimises misunderstandings and helps teams to work together more effectively.

Single site organisations will naturally find it easier to communicate with their members, partners and staff. However, due to the complexity of the health and social care reforms, not all of the new healthcare organisational forms will be located on a single site – many will be located across a multi-site geographical footprint.

If communication is not planned and rolled out effectively from the outset this can lead to a lack of knowledge, awareness, direction and isolation, and will have a seriously negative impact on the behaviour, motivation, morale and effectiveness of employees – and in turn, the new organisation as a whole.

So what are the fundamental components that the new organisations should be developing and implementing from their communications strategy and action plan, as part of their internal communications tool kit? Well apart from weekly staff, partner and team meetings (ideally held face to face) Board meetings, regular newsletters, emails, social media posts and intranet updates, and social events are all fundamental elements. Anything else on top is a real bonus.

Yes there are some fundamentally significant organisational changes afoot in the health and social care industry, but with some careful thought, planning and effective management, there is no reason why the new organisations cannot thrive.

If you are interested to learn more, or want to chat over a coffee about your experiences of transformational internal communications, feel free to call me. I’m always happy to help.