Chief Information Officer , Net Health
Future of Work - Employee Experience
Net Health is a SaaS-based organization and premier provider of cloud-based Electronic Health Record (EHR) software for specialized care settings (Rehab Therapy, Wound Care, Occupational Health, Hospice), serving over 14,000 facilities, including 98 percent of the largest hospital chains, two-thirds of skilled nursing facilities and many leading hospice organizations and private practices. We serve the continuum of care from hospital to home with the purpose of reconnecting our clients with their calling.
Just like every organization, the COVID pandemic disrupted our operations and forced us to adjust rapidly. Fortunately, we did just that, pivoting in 24 hours and moving the entire organization to a remote workforce. Along with the dramatic shift to remote work, we also had to ensure employees could securely work and remain productive and engaged during an ongoing period of uncertainty.
But as employees would no longer be in offices for an undeterminable amount of time, we worried that our overall culture of connectedness and collaboration could suffer. Employee work culture is not driven by executive order or policies but often begins with employees sharing mutual interests and passions. Those passions often have nothing to do with work and are shared in hallways and around the proverbial water cooler.
With offices closed, we looked for a common denominator to connect us – our technology.
Rather than implementing new technologies, we reimagined the use of our existing technologies along with executive contributions and support. As Slack has become our standard for real-time collaboration, we opted to expand how Slack would be used for ensuring collaboration and build our culture.
We built non-work-related Slack channels to enable “virtual watercoolers”, enabling people to bond over mutual interests and continue to build culture while separated. We created non-work focused channels in Slack where employees can share recipes, memes, or pictures of their pets. Aside from creating these channels, we had executives, including our CIO, create live experiences such as BBQ demos, and virtual field trips during traditional office hours. Having support from the executive level leads credence that our organization believes connecting over shared interests brings us closer together and ultimately leads to better results through better engagement.
As a data-driven organization, we monitor patient health data to drive better patient outcomes. COVID has allowed us to look more at our own employee-driven data to drive better employee outcomes.
While employee surveys have ranked our embrace of Slack for non-traditional use favorably, we needed to compare data from other systems to determine success.
We correlated Slack engagement metrics with data across our systems including ITSM, Contact Center, Jira, and other systems KPIs to show there is a correlation between cultural engagement and employee productivity.
As the number of daily Slack posts has increased, so have the number of successfully closed tickets within our ITSM. Similar metrics are seen across Jira, Ring Central Contact Center, and other systems. An increase in participation within channels also resulted in more individual interactions across different departments. In other words, the more people from other departments participate in non-work-related channels, the more they interact on work-related channels.
A more traditionalist view would assume that people spending time on non-work-related activities would correlate with a drop in employee productivity. Our data shows the opposite: The more people can take a break from work without fear of repercussion, the more productivity improves.
Eventually will correlate this data along with our NPS to determine if internal culture improvements can improve overall customer satisfaction.
In a COVID world, our client call volumes have increased 300%; the interactions with our clients and employees are happening at a greater rate. While everyone is working remotely, we continue to see people engaging and connecting more. Slack daily interactions have increased by approximately 400% while Zoom meetings are up over 500%. In the last 90 days, much of those increases in daily interactions is happening on non-work-related Slack channels with more than dozens of virtual field trip or live learning sessions occurring monthly. While one metric shows employees are highly productive in terms of call volume, the other shows they are interacting and engaging with each other at a greater rate. The time it takes to close opened tickets within our ITSM is on par with pre-COVID levels and within our service level agreements. This metric shows that non-work-related communications and activities have not negatively impacted our ability to support internal users or our clients.
Both client and internal surveys rate the organization's level of response during COVID favorably.
Bottom line: Our people are connecting more than ever before, both from a client and an interoffice perspective
We used Slack as the primary communication tool for culture building with integrations into Zoom and Ring Central. Slack would be the real-time collaboration tool to share everything from recipes to pictures of pets and support for causes such as Black Lives Matter. To take that experience further we integrated with Ring Central and Zoom to create live interactive experiences such as bourbon tastings and dance lessons - all during office hours and with executive support.
The global pandemic, recession, and civil unrest have defined 2020 as the year of disruption. We chose to lessen the disruption for our teams by using familiar technology to bring us closer. Our deliberate and meaningful use of technology to connect each other is not merely a stopgap measure until people can safely return to offices, but a long-term definition of who we strive to be as an organization. We believe that connecting and sharing our passions are all necessary to understand each other and grow closer as we serve our clients.
I have enjoyed evolving the position of CIO from a technology business partner to an agent of cultural empowerment. Seeing people engage and interact while remaining productive is truly inspiring. Watching how our technology is used to share passions, discuss how we can better serve our communities, and learn more about each other was not in any of my business continuity plans for pandemic and yet our digital transformation strategy has become a story of our own cultural transformation.
About Net Health
Net Health provides cloud-based software for specialty medical providers across the continuum of healthcare – from hospital to home. Net Health’s interoperable EHRs deliver end-to-end solutions that ensure compliance, improve outcomes, empower providers and inspire care. Net Health is a portfolio company of The Carlyle Group, Level Equity, and Silversmith Capital Partners.