PRWeek Awards - Employee Communications Campaign of the Year

Winner

GolinHarris and Piedmont Hospital: “Soul Search”– Piedmont Hospital’s Employee Referral Campaign

The US is in dire need of healthcare professionals. According to...

Winner

GolinHarris and Piedmont Hospital: “Soul Search”– Piedmont Hospital’s Employee Referral Campaign

The US is in dire need of healthcare professionals. According to the American Hospital Association, in 2006, the country’s hospitals needed more than 118,000 registered nurses (RNs) to fill current vacancies, and that number is projected to increase by the year 2014.

The Atlanta office of GolinHarris was tapped by Piedmont Hospital to help fill its own RN vacancies and conduct an employee referral program. The program aimed to fill 100 full-time RN positions within 100 days, fill another 25 full-time allied health positions in 100 days, and increase the employee referral rate.

Prior to launch of the employee communications program, Golin conducted interviews with nonaffiliated Piedmont RNs, as well as full-time Piedmont RNs of varying amounts of experience, to better understand why nurses joined the staff and what kept them there. The research showed that other nurses’ opinions of the hospital were the biggest factor when seeking a new job. One judge called the program a “wonderfully creative and cost-effective employee acquisition effort.”

The PR team used the theme “Soul Search” to attract attention to the need for more staff and reinforce the value of current employees. The theme was carried throughout the effort, with shoes placed around the hospital with notes reading “This Shoe Needs a Good Soul: Help Us Find One” and “We’ve Got Big Shoes to Fill at Piedmont... Can You Help?”

The campaign was launched at the monthly managerial meeting to engage the hospital’s leadership to encourage employees to make referrals, and nurses were given incentives like bonuses, coupons to DSW Shoe Stores, Braves baseball tickets, and gift certificates for pedicures for making employee referrals. Intranet, paycheck stuffers, posters, flyers, banners, newsletters, and discussions in staff meetings were used to further relay the message to employees.

Ultimately, the program succeeded in attaining all of its goals. There were almost 900 employee referrals made during the campaign, a 27% increase from the same period the year before. There were 105 full-time and 27 part-time RN positions filled within the 100-day period, as well as 36 full-time allied health posts filled, a 44% increase over the PR team’s goal.

“Piedmont did a lot with a little and had great measurable results totally linked to its goals,” said one judge.

Honorable Mention

Ruder Finn and Novartis: The Booster Shot of Employee Morale for a Failing Vaccines Company: The Chiron Acquisition

During Novartis’ acquisition of the failed vaccine company Chiron, the pharma giant had to unite current and newly acquired employees across 22 countries and three languages. With the help of Ruder Finn, Novartis was able to use a two-tiered approach to first open the lines of communication prior to acquisition, then create a cohesive employee base through the theme of “Growing Together.” Through open access, transparency, an executive representative, and employee feedback, the first tier of the program was a success. The
Novartis team was successfully able to work with the Chiron employees to make everyone comfortable with the transition. The second tier used signage changes, employee welcome packages, and a “town hall” atmosphere to orient all employees after the close of the acquisition. “It was a class-act during a trying time,” noted one judge.

Finalists 2007

  • Dittus Communications and Shell Oil Company: Shell is Coming Home

  • GolinHarris and Piedmont Hospital: “Soul Search”– Piedmont Hospital’s Employee Referral Campaign

  • National Instruments: Celebrating 30 Years of National Instruments Excellence, 20 Years of LabVIEW Innovation

  • Philips Electronics North America: The Philips Simplicity Showdown

  • Ruder Finn and Novartis: The Booster Shot of Employee Morale for a Failing Vaccines Company: The Chiron Acquisition

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