2011 Nonprofit PR Awards: Employee/Internal Communications

Western Connecticut Healthcare  Affiliation Campaign: The First 100 Days of a Merger

Western Connecticut Healthcare helped to put anxious employees at ease at New Milford Hospital—a small, community facility—after a deal was struck with larger healthcare network Danbury Hospital/Danbury Health Systems. The September 2010 merger resulted in the creation of Western Connecticut Healthcare. With the onset of the merger, many employees of New Milford Hospital feared their jobs would be at risk. 

Western Connecticut Healthcare adopted an open approach to employees during the first 100 days of the merger to create a more positive outlook. Strategies included the distribution a Managers’ Toolkit, designed to prepare managers to consistently convey honest information about the merger and address any concerns. A welcome e-mail, printed letter and a link to a CEO video message explaining details and benefits of the merger was sent to each employee to boost morale and enthusiasm. Campaign surveys showed that 90% of employees understood the rationale behind the merger, 85% understood the benefits for both hospitals and 80% felt their new merged organization would be financially stable in the future.

Honorable Mentions

American Student Assistance – I Am ASA: The I Am ASA (American Student Assistance) internal brand campaign was rooted in a four-day training curriculum, encouraging staffers to share personal experiences at ASA and relying on visuals such as framed messages (for example, “I Keep Our Brand Strong”). The campaign achieved a total of 72 nominations for brand ambassadors, 25 of which were selected in 2010 to lead the way in showing that each employee is responsible for delivering a brand experience.

U.S. Fund for UNICEF and American Airlines – UNICEF’s Change for Good Program on American Airlines: By January 2011, American Airlines’ Champions for Children collected over $1.6 million to help UNICEF save children’s lives. Among AA employees, more than 2,100 Champions are registered and the partnership has surpassed revenue expectations, with funds up by 22% over the previous year. An online U.S. Fund for UNICEF community encouraged Champions to connect and share inspirational stories.