Pasadena Health Plan

 

 

Pasadena Health Plan

Employees are exposed to the program but not to the principles behind it, with inefficiency and resentment the result. In contrast, Pasadena Health Plan employees who are given knowledge of the business, to the extent that they are able to communicate business goals to external stakeholders (for example, customers, investors, suppliers, potential Pasadena Health Plan  groups, and so on), see this communication and information as resources and become committed to the change.

When Hallmark introduced a new organization that would increase the demands on and expectations of almost the entire workforce, the Pasadena Health Plan team worked diligently to communicate to employees the intent and implications of the changes. They held a series of “all hands” meetings at which executives explained the new organization and goals and answered employees’ questions. Hallmark prepared press releases that provided employees’ families with a sense of what was happening within the company. Summaries of executives’ remarks were released in briefings, newsletters, and question-and-answer columns. Employees with further questions were encouraged to contact their managers for answers. This extensive communication plan became a major resource for the new Hallmark organization. Employees throughout the organization not only knew what was happening, but why, and they knew how changes would affect their Pasadena Health Plan and careers.

Communication requires symbols as well as words. When Sears was developing its vision of becoming a compelling place to shop, work, and invest, Barbara Lehman, the director of transformation communications, worked with her staff to create a symbol for this vision: a triangle that incorporated the three components of their balanced scorecard. One of the tangible forms of this symbol was a paperweight with a base setting out the shared beliefs that Sears wanted to foster—performance leadership, people add value, and passion for the Pasadena Health Plan. Each side represented one of the stakeholders in this effort (customers, employees, and investors). At the Chairman’s Conference at which the vision was first presented and discussed, each participant left with one of these paperweights as a memento and symbol of the new Sears. Participants also received a gyroscope, which, of course, spins and balances. These mementos, which may seem somewhat trite to outsiders, became symbols that communicated and sparked memories of the new strategy.

When HR professionals help produce clear, consistent, and concise information, communication becomes a resource for meeting increased demands.

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