Connect your company’s brand and employee experience

In this episode of our popular Tips in Ten(ish) minutes video series, Kirsten Lecky, EVP insights and growth at WG Content, sits down with Christine Albert, chief experience officer at LCMC Health. Christine provides valuable tips on getting buy-in for your initiatives and offers a tactical example that can transform your healthcare organization.

Watch this 13-minute video and learn how to:

  • Create a compelling employee value proposition
  • Connect brand, culture and experience to drive results
  • Establish “people priorities” at your organization

This video was recorded on September 5, 2023, before WriterGirl became WG Content.

Watch the video

0:00:03.2 Kirsten Lecky: Well, hello Christine. Welcome to our Tips in Ten minutes. It’s so nice to have you with us today.

0:00:10.2 Christine Albert: Likewise, glad to be here. Thanks for the invitation.

0:00:12.4 Kirsten Lecky: A quick introduction, Christine is the Chief Experience Officer for LCMC Health, a New Orleans based multi-hospital healthcare system. And I love the way you describe your position. She describes it as connecting the dots between brand, culture and patient experience, which I love so much. She’s also the SHSMD, president-elect following our friend Alan Shoebridge. And speaking of SHSMD is gonna be participating on a panel, at the upcoming annual conference, which we’ll talk a little bit about here, at the end of our conversation. As it’s super intriguing, but welcome again, Christine. We’re so happy to have you. A really great place to start is to talk a little bit about your role. I think you have a really unique role in this industry. Just describe what it means to you for healthcare system to connect brand culture and patient experience and what that means for you in your role.

0:01:04.5 Christine Albert: Yeah. What you’re describing is that line that runs through those three things are really our purpose or our reason for being, for the teams that I lead. As the chief experience officer, I work with colleagues in HR, operations and recruitment and organizational learning and marketing and communications and in wellbeing. Together we have the ability to really drive not just the consumer experience, but also help people inside the organization feel that as a lived experience every day. As part of the work we’ve done around brand, for example, that really brought our system together, but created a lot of clarity, excitement, and momentum around something like a shared mission, vision, values. And we took that moment to really think about how to make this actionable and to move away from kind of the traditional or the ordinary mission, vision values. You sometimes feel that feel stale or same, same.

0:01:55.8 Christine Albert: And when we thought about how to design that for us, we wanted it to feel warm, personal and also actionable. Even how we define that as a brand in a branded market, as you can see from even our visual identity behind me with the hearts really comes across. It’s bright, it’s connecting, and we want to have that connection with our community as well as all our employees. That’s the brand piece. Translating that to the lived experience, we wanna bring that to life in the organization through behaviors, through how we recruit and onboard and retain and progress and promote. It’s this holistic approach to the person, but everything anchors back to living that every single day. And if we do those two things well, we know that the experience for our patients, for their caregivers and families and for our community will be exceptional. We started with that brand and really defining, having clarity, excitement, momentum, and now we’re really focusing on the experience piece.

0:02:47.8 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah, I love that so much. Recognizing that our audience that watches these Tips in Ten minutes, are healthcare marketers. Maybe let’s start with something that you can say from your own experience this past year that you’ve done, that you’ve seen come to life, come to fruition that’s really moved the needle or connected those dots maybe give us an experience of something like that.

0:03:07.4 Christine Albert: No, that’s a great question. And one thing I’ll share is something new for our organization, but I know I mentioned kind of that clarity around brand and brand position and market. We’re really shifting internally and I think this is a great opportunity, especially for Marcom to step up to the table and say, we can deliver strategies and tactics that drive business results. I think every organization at this moment top of mind is thinking about not just how do we grow, but honestly how do we attract a workforce? There’s a labor shortage. How do we use our skillset in marketing communications to connect those dots to better be able to support, hiring and onboarding the right folks, finding the best people to support your organization. At LCMC Health, we are working on implementing our employee value proposition.

0:03:52.7 Christine Albert: Really taking this moment, and kind of finding opportunity in crisis. We had talked about an employee value proposition initially when we did our brand work and just couldn’t quite get that lift. And we moved forward with the external facing brand first and just said “it’s on the back burner, but we’re coming back to it.” And what we found is that people, when we went to market, it’s a few years later, it’s about three years in, they have seen it and now our employees are like “Yes, I understand. I can see it, I can touch it, I can feel it.” And now as we’re going back to the organization to say, let’s do that brand process and that meaning and how we’re driving consistency and excitement, but let’s do it internally for our 14,000 people. Now interestingly, we’re, finding that people are really receptive and they are by and large really excited.

0:04:40.5 Christine Albert: We’re starting to use that employee value proposition as the strategic wrapper on rethinking a lot of existing practices and things we do every day. A lot of it isn’t really net new. It’s not new resources, it’s not new dollars, it’s not new people. It’s changing our mindset and how we think about the work. I’ll share a really tactical example.

0:05:02.0 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah.

0:05:02.6 Christine Albert: To come out of this, we have like a three-four year work plan. I’m gonna acknowledge the ball’s in the air, but we’ve got some runway ahead of us. But one thing we focused on first was the recruitment journey, mapping it, understanding it, and looking for a couple of moments that mattered. And really low hanging fruit for us was, take an offer letter. Everybody has to get one. We now have workday so we can automate some of these things. Again, that marketing automation mindset, we looked at the existing letter, which was like; Dear Christine, excited, you’re joining us. Your start date is this, employee health, et cetera, and thought, that accomplishes the task, but it’s not infused with who we are, our mission, the values, and those employee behaviors that we’re seeking. And we redesigned. It did like a side by side to say, here’s what you gave us ordinary, it worked, here’s the reboot. And it’s pretty extraordinary. We added some graphic or brand visual elements.

0:06:00.1 Christine Albert: We deployed that brand voice in the employee value proposition. And then all of a sudden when you could see those two things side by side, it’s like, “Hey, Christine, amazing.” We’re doing high fives over here. Your first day is the first. And so even the feel of that, for us, we hire tens of thousands of people a year. It’s one more letter, just send it out for Christine who receives that letter, who’s gone through this process, who is changing her career, who’s choosing to be with us, this is a moment for you that you’re gonna remember that is really special. We wanna… Even though we do 10,000 of these, we want your moment to feels special. And so we can do that, but we can do it at scale. So that’s just one tactical example or a way that we’re taking that employee value proposition strategy, but making it feel real.

0:06:45.7 Kirsten Lecky: Right. Right. That’s a great example. And what a great way to a first step to understanding the culture and the brand is with that touch that you have obviously… They have that through their interview process. But to seal the deal with something that’s really rich in brand is such a great example. And have you heard that… Do you have examples that it’s working and that you’re hearing from people like that it’s really making a difference and making an impact?

0:07:07.7 Christine Albert: We have not yet. That’s part of what we actually are gonna start doing is doing some serving for our candidates and also hiring managers of just their experience and their process. So that’s kind of our next… It’s like you’ve seen our employee value proposition implementation plan. That’s next is, to implement these things and then to get feedback and adjust what did it feel like? How did you experience these things at different points in that journey, so we can test and learn and optimize as we go forward.

0:07:31.2 Kirsten Lecky: So, what are some of the tricks that you’ve learned along the way to get upfront buy-in on work like this? It takes an army of people to really bring this to life and create positions like you’re in. What are some of the things that you learned along the way that were tips, or that you can pass along to get buy-in on something like this?

0:07:49.4 Christine Albert: It’s probably a combination of things. And I think the things that I’ve experienced that have served me well going through this process is to always be clear and concise. To know what you’d like to do, and to create a compelling picture. I feel like a lot of my role is communicating or selling the vision. And then here’s how we’re gonna get there, but I need you to believe first. That’s a big piece. And then the other part is delivering and communicating against that. For our brand work for example, we did a lot of qual and quant research and assessment and said, “Here’s what we’re seeing. Here’s the plan, but here’s what we think we’re gonna see.” And then wrap that in even just some visuals or some ways to connect. Kind of speaking to hearts and minds. And then also understanding how to frame the solution that you’re providing to the business.

0:08:36.3 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah.

0:08:36.9 Christine Albert: Or welcome folks. An employee value proposition for us might be table stakes and something we know we need to have. So being able to take the concept and being able to communicate it to the audience who needs to care the most. So, CEOs, CFOs, COOs, for us the employee value proposition was, it’s not just words. This is how we’re gonna solve the crisis problems in our organization today. This is how we’re gonna hire, this is how we’re gonna retain, this is how we’re gonna progress, and here’s how we’re gonna measure it. It’s gonna come wrapped in something that looks fun, colorful, and on brand, but don’t be fooled. There are definite business metrics and business to the bottom line that’s gonna show up. So being able to connect those dots from strategy to business bottom line, I think is… Regardless of your initiative is always key.

0:09:25.8 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah. And this idea of an employee value proposition, talk a little bit about that process. I’m sure that’s an also very comprehensive, includes a lot of people. Talk to us a little bit about how you were able to do that work.

0:09:40.3 Christine Albert: The good news is we had that great brand work, which was really our foundation. So that’s where we started. So really a strong sense of who we are, what we stand for, and who we aspire to be, as an organization. And so that was really meaningful and it was clear, and it was compelling. But we hadn’t really brought people along on that vision with us. So we were kind of holding up something to people but we hadn’t actually communicated it, helped them, train them, equip them to be able to deliver on it. And so that’s really where we started to talk a lot with HR specifically. ‘Cause a lot of the things we’re trying to hardwire, again not new work, existing things already happened. Hiring, employee orientation, leadership development, talent and progression. All of those sit there, and there are opportunities to infuse this.

0:10:26.9 Christine Albert: And we really found that those teams are super receptive. And the feedback we got from them specifically was we had asked a lot. What does it mean to be an LCMC Health leader? Or why should I work here? I could be at any healthcare system, tell me why? And this certainly gave them something that could elevate that and they helped us co-create that. So, for organizational learning for example. What are those behaviors we want people to live and do every day? It’s not prescriptive. Again it’s not the same, same. It’s not the generic teamwork kind of stuff. We’re based in Louisiana, New Orleans, so we can sometimes have a little bit more fun. There is something called the concept of lagniappe, here which is just like a little something extra. So if you go to a restaurant, you might get a free dessert. Like, “Free dessert is the most in a restaurant.” Just a little plus up. Like for us as we communicate, a lot of our behaviors are kind of what is… You had to distill it down to something. We just want people to do that little something extra.

0:11:23.0 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah.

0:11:23.7 Christine Albert: And it’s not prescriptive, it’s not eye contact at 10 feet, acknowledgement of five. Every day we want you to show up and whether you’re the CEO, or you’re in patient transport, we just want you to have the creativity. Why don’t you just to show up and do a little extra for your colleague, or your patient, or somebody in the community. It gives a lot of freedom. And it embraces really like a DE and IB message, which is, “We welcome everyone and who you are and we wanna shine a light on that. We wanna elevate it, and celebrate it.” And so we’re finding that that really resonates internally, but also with our community.

0:11:54.0 Kirsten Lecky: What is that called again? In New Orleans it’s called the…

0:11:56.7 Christine Albert: It’s a word called lagniappe.

0:12:00.0 Kirsten Lecky: Lagniappe?

0:12:00.8 Christine Albert: It just means that little something extra. So that gives people just a lot of fun.

0:12:03.1 Kirsten Lecky: Quick permission to like… Here at WriterGirl we call… And it’s not our original idea but we’ve adopted it, it’s called moment makers.

0:12:12.6 Christine Albert: I love that.

0:12:12.7 Kirsten Lecky: And its like making moments happen and it can be very small, and it can be grand gestures, but we all are empowered to have budgets and places and to do this sort of work so that we can just create those moments. So I love the different ways that we get to do that type of stuff.

0:12:28.0 Christine Albert: I love how you said the… It sounds like it’s connecting to the humanity and especially…

0:12:32.0 Kirsten Lecky: Right. Yeah.

0:12:32.2 Christine Albert: Health care that can be… But sometimes vulnerable, but really a uniquely human experience. So being able to be there at that moment and connect on that level is something that somebody will remember.

0:12:41.6 Kirsten Lecky: Absolutely. Beyond us wearing the same color jackets today, we’re just super connected, right? [chuckle]

0:12:47.5 Christine Albert: Twinning is winning. [chuckle]

0:12:48.6 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah. We’re gonna see each other in Chicago for SHSMD. Christine’s topic is how marketing and communications is leading change and impact for people priorities. So top of mind for so many of us right now, I think you’re gonna have a packed room. It’s gonna be a lot of fun to hear that, you’re alongside some really great leaders that are participating on that panel as well. So we’ll be sure to put a little bit of information in there too about what day and time, and how they can find your session for people that aren’t gonna be at SHSMD. But thank you again for joining me today. It was really nice to catch up with you, and I will see you in about two weeks or so.

0:13:25.5 Christine Albert: Yeah, likewise. Thanks. It was a treat and I’ll see you at SHSMD.

0:13:28.3 Kirsten Lecky: Alright, sounds good. Thanks.

0:13:29.2 Christine Albert: Bye.