Employee Concerns Prompt Change Management Plan

  January 19, 2015

Chase Brexton Health Care's plan was to move into a converted office building that would provide the space it needed for growth, while driving a change in culture. Although there was a good deal of communication with staff on the new building and the business plans, there was a lot of anxiety during the first 10 months about what the changes meant for individuals. Rumors circulated and questions remained unanswered. Those concerns prompted development of a change management plan.

One problem is that many decisions seemingly were being made without a lot of consultation with the staff. To start addressing the anxiety and perceived lack of participation, a short series of workshops on change were held in May 2012 with various groups of staff. The workshops suggested that a more wide-ranging and far-reaching change program could bring huge benefits both for individual staff members and for organizational performance. A whole transition project was proposed called ONE Chase Brexton. The goal was to use the move into the Monumental Life Building as a lever to change the business model, culture, brand, and performance of Chase Brexton without losing sight of the (new) mission "to provide compassionate, quality health care that honors diversity, inspires wellness, and improves our communities." The re-alignment would affect all five Chase Brexton locations.

A crucial step came when the senior leadership team publicly committed to a ONE Chase Brexton change/transition process. This was a powerful statement that began uniting staff in all five centers around the ONE Chase Brexton ethos. The senior leadership team took the view that empowering staff to fully participate in the change process was the best way to go.

Project teams met regularly and all their project documentation, discussions, additional materials, and schedules were posted on an open access SharePoint site. This meant full transparency to all employees: They were free to read about the status of the organization redesign and transition and to comment on what was posted.

As the year progressed, future scenarios, care processes, and waste elimination strategies were tried and modified at other locations and even in the new space before it was occupied to test assumptions and feasibility. Numerous changes, some as large as centralizing services (i.e., the various providers come to the patient rather than the reverse) to as simple as instituting a new check list, were trialed and implemented.

This brief comes from Naomi Stanford, author of Organizational Health.

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