To unify their geographically dispersed workforce and support a growing healthcare system, Piedmont implemented Interact to realize its four clear internal communication goals: engagement, accessibility, experience, and social.

We challenged ourselves to find the right intranet platform that would deliver the unique destination that our employees wanted. Based on the results, we hit the mark.

Kelli Newman – Director of Internal Communications, Piedmont Healthcare

At the core of every medical organization lies two key components – patients and the professionals who support them. A cohesive and easy-to-access information hub is paramount to provide patients with access to groundbreaking therapies and new standards in medical care. For Piedmont Healthcare, a rapidly growing health system of more than 18,300 employees located throughout Georgia, difficulties arose due to the poor remote access and lack of team collaboration provided by their legacy intranet.

With a company goal to “make a positive difference in every life we touch”, Piedmont struggled to create a thriving community where employees could connect, collaborate and grow throughout their journey. Lack of governance and content strategy led Piedmont to seek a replacement for their proprietary, decades-old intranet.

They deployed Interact as a collaborative, social, and scalable solution to keep pace with their growth and demand.

A strategic initiative to improve employee communications

After evaluating and understanding that a problem existed, Piedmont turned to their staff to pinpoint the exact challenges that the healthcare workers were facing. A series of surveys and polls were executed to provide insight into what employees thought of the legacy intranet and what they wanted to see from the new one. The level of dissatisfaction was evident as 76% of employees indicated that the legacy intranet provided poor search performance and 76% criticized the poor remote access.

Feedback was forthcoming, with employees making suggestions such as:

“Put all the informational stuff on the intranet in an intuitive design and cut down on some of the emails!”

“Make the intranet a place where employees will want to go daily instead of sending more email.”

Polls for new intranet features revealed that 91% of staff desired a space for team collaboration and 79% wanted more social engagement with their peers.

With the need for change solidified, the plan to partner Interact was presented to Piedmont’s executive leadership team and approved. A team of six individuals from the internal communications and information technology teams led the 6-month implementation project.

It takes a village

In the spirit of collaboration, Piedmont turned to their employees to decide on a name for their new improved intranet. After receiving more than 450 suggestions, the design group was able to consolidate the submissions down to just 50 names. Brainstorming sessions and concept boards brought two names to the top of the batch. However, concerns about the two choices arose. The worry was that neither one aligned with the culture of Piedmont.

Weeks of debate lead them to reevaluate the name of their legacy intranet. Finally, it was decided that the name of the original intranet, “The Village”, aligned best with the company’s history, values, and purpose. Complete with a new official logo, tagline, and positioning statement, The Village was reborn.

Piedmont The Village

New homepage provides easy navigation and organized structure

To provide direction to the project and focus the efforts of work groups on certain tasks, two work streams, infrastructure and content strategy, were created.

The team, consisting of 85 members representing key shared services departments and Piedmont’s hospitals, focused on the intranet architecture. The results of a user survey measuring employee intranet behavior and a usability study gauging what information employees looked for on the site guided design decisions. The outcome was an incorporated use of colorful icons on the home page that ensured the ease of navigation and a new main menu structure organized by task and function instead of by department.

Piedmont homepage

Piedmont’s user survey did more than show what information employees searched for most. Results also identified characteristics, intranet behaviors and needs of their four primary intranet user personas – Nurses, Physicians, Professionals and Remote Workers. Each persona’s variances were documented, including their differences in location, amount of time spent working remotely, department, and work goals and challenges. Then, they illustrated how the newly formed intranet could best assist the needs and aims of each persona.

These user insights guided design and content decisions, resulting in a custom homepage and modified navigation for our Physician Enterprise staff. With an acute focus on providing safe, quality care, one-click access to important clinical information and systems is essential for clinical and nursing staff, which is our largest employee population.

Kelli Newman – Director of Internal Communications, Piedmont Healthcare

New content and design creates a satisfied staff

The content strategy and infrastructure groups worked side by side to develop an intranet design that would appeal to all staff and improve the overall employee experience. Kelli shares that, “Content strategy work groups established an intranet governance model and council, developed measurable objectives aligned to project goals, managed content planning and migration for launch, and led content author selection and training, which included an online course on writing for the intranet.”

She adds, “Infrastructure work groups, which focused on technology and design, led intranet configuration and systems integration to ensure location-based content targeting and mobile access.” These adjustments cleaned up the content left by the legacy intranet and established a constructive and compatible way for staff to stay connected.

A successful launch for engaged employees

With the legacy intranet being overhauled with Interact to now deliver on the needs of their staff, Piedmont wanted to further display their growth with a launch event. Their new intranet, The Village, launched in Mid-February 2017.

“We held 12 launch events between our six hospitals and three corporate locations. Events were staffed by 75 members of our employee volunteer group, the Piedmont Connectors, who served as intranet tour guides and ambassadors,” said Kelli Newman. The launch events were both interactive and informative as they allowed employees to ask and learn about specific features of the new intranet, including how to create an intranet profile.

Piedmont Launch

Engagement was high, and more than 1,400 employees attended the launch events that were held across the system. Interactive events included free, branded giveaways & prizes as well as games and contests featured on the intranet – crossword puzzles and word searches that explained new features and encouraged employees to create their intranet profiles.

The launch campaign was not all fun and games; Piedmont integrated a number of features geared toward the education of their staff on the navigation and usage of their new intranet. They introduced Ludwig, their online tour guide named after one of Piedmont’s founding physicians. During the launch, Ludwig conducted a virtual intranet tour that assisted staff with navigation and allowed them to find answers to common questions using their question bank. In the following three months, employees had completed 5,871 virtual tours by Ludwig.

Piedmont ludwig tour

Piedmont also made use of the new features of their intranet with an educational video aimed at instructing their staff on proper intranet behavior. Kelli reveals that, “A social media educational video was produced to teach employees about the dos and don’ts of responsible media use. We captured acknowledgment of completions by using the new mandatory read feature of the intranet.” Within the first few months, 83% of employees had watched the social media educational video.

The campaign was a success, with a total count of 5,560 unique visits on The Village on the day of launch.

Steady improvement for the future

Since deploying Interact, Piedmont has furthered its goal to create a thriving digital community where all of their staff can connect, collaborate, and grow throughout their journey at Piedmont. They determined the need to keep accurate measurements of how their expectations measured up to their achievements as a motivation to succeed.

“The project team decided to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-based and Time-bound) goals that were aspirational as a way of holding the entire team accountable for the project’s success. A main driver of this decision is Piedmont’s growing healthcare system that requires employees to work collaboratively.”

Adoption, usage, collaboration and engagement objectives were set, and Piedmont measured their results against their goals:

  • Goal: 80% of employees (10,800) use the intranet by March 31

Result: 13,987 unique visits and 1.0 million page views

  • Goal: 30% of the 80% read the mandatory social media page

Result: 49% completion

  • Goal: All hospitals have a presence by June 30

Result: 100%

  • Goal: By June 30, have 25% of departments and hospitals contributing content to the intranet

Result: 11 of 11 system departments and all hospitals are content contributors.

Since the launch of our new intranet, there has been a significant increase in the number of employees who agree or strongly agree that they receive adequate communication about changes happening at Piedmont and the company’s future plans and directions.

Kelli Newman – Director of Internal Communications, Piedmont Healthcare

An award-winning intranet

The success seen during the launch phase of The Village saw Piedmont take the winning title at the Interact Excellence Awards for Best Intranet Launch, as well as securing recognition as a finalist in the 2017 Ragan Intranet Awards.