Springfield Clinic had a challenge on its hands. The large multispecialty medical clinic, with 50 satellite offices in southern Illinois, lacked an effective way to communicate with its 2,300 medical and administrative employees. The weekly newsletter emails generated by the Springfield, Ill.-headquartered firm’s HR department were being ignored by the staff, and worse, they were not helping to build a cohesive team.
“We struggled for quite some time to find a way to really get our physicians and staff to engage in news about what was going on,” says Patty Kuhn, marketing director for Springfield Clinic. “We had nine or 10 different department newsletters from our quality management department to human resources to a corporate internal e-newsletter.”
Last summer, when the company’s new CEO noticed at a staff meeting that employees were all looking at their phones, he had a thought: Why not send out the HR and staff alerts over smartphones?
Springfield Clinic looked at five or six similar products before selecting APPrise Mobile, an HR communication app for smartphones that is designed for staff spread out over wide locations. A pilot program was launched in July 2017. The program went live in September and the clinic’s e-mail newsletters have since been deactivated. “We had a retirement party for the corporate newsletter last December,” jokes Kuhn.
As a software as a service, APPrise Mobile provides a native app to allow employers to organize and push content to their workforces and target content to specific groups of employees, according to Jeff Corbin, CEO and founder of APPrise Mobile.
With clients that include Toyota North America, Chipotle and hospital networks, APPrise Mobile aims to help executives and HR directors reach workers from the top down, especially contract workers. “In many instances, there are a lot of part-time employees who don’t necessarily have corporate e-mail addresses so it’s been a challenge for these companies to reach them for many years,” Corbin says.
Corbin says the challenge for today’s HR executives is not shrinking an e-mail newsletter down to a two and a half by four inch screen of an iPhone or Android. For the end user, “we ask what are the five, six or seven categories of information content that an employee wants to have, needs to have at their fingertips and how do you package that in a way that it's going to be consumed and not ignored or deleted?” says Corbin.
Now, the 260 doctors, 160 advanced practitioners, and the rest of the Springfield Clinic staff use the app to receive a variety of posts with APPrise Mobile. Alerts include announcements welcoming new physicians and staff, the launch of new service internally before they are announced to the public, and staff work anniversaries and retirement announcements. In the event of emergencies, Springfield Clinic will issue office closures due to snow or flooding and even when tornado warnings are issued.
“We have a number of physicians who do mission work so if there's a human interest story among our employee or physician population, we like to tell those stories. We're looking internally to curate interesting, relevant and timely content and our employees are responding favorably,” Kuhn says.
Springfield Clinic users can download the free app from the App Store or Google Play and sign up for an account with their work e-mail. Kuhn says the app is straightforward and that an adept smartphone user should be able to navigate most features without extensive training.
The alerts also include text and images as well as social media features that allow recipients to like or comment on a news alert, much like a tweet or a Facebook post.
“We see in the level of engagement that the app allows through the likes and the comments but just anecdotally when I am out and about, people are like, ‘Patty, we really love the app, we're on it all day and we really feel a greater sense of connection,’” says Kuhn.
The clinic also has become creative with content delivered over APPrise Mobile as well.
“We have a full team in our marketing and communications department — that includes a videographer, photographer, two graphic designers and a copywriter — so we do some really fun graphic elements that are very attention-grabbing,” Kuhn says.
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