Getting every employee to "live the mission" or "live the brand" is a frequent theme in patient experience strategies. Szablowski believes what is working at Dignity is something they started at least four years ago.
"We'd get letters from patients, and we'd take one of those letters once a month, invite that patient and their family, the caregivers, and the leadership from the hospital and have that person read the letter in from of everyone," he says.
The emotional connection was so powerful that Szablowski says Dignity is now working on videotaping the patients reading the letters and storing them in a video library to use for motivational purposes before leadership meetings.
"Each story is really different. Some are about little things, big things. There is an unbelievable range," he says. "The value of it is people come in and talk about what led up to the [hospital visit], the care, and afterwards. You recognize that it's the totality of the experience. All those little things matter." At the end of the letter reading, everyone who was involved in the patient's care gets a certificate of appreciation from the CEO.
"It's the fundamental articulation of the brand, and the brand isn't the logo or the architecture. It's a living thing and everyone plays a role in it," he says.
So far, Szablowski says he feels like Dignity has done a good job focusing its internal communication to raise employee engagement. It's measured by the participation rate of Dignity's annual employee survey, which Szablowski says has been between 80%–90% for the last five years.