Video has become an important comms channel. Here’s how a group of communicators in the NHS are using it to recruit nurses after some basic training we delivered in Digbeth, Birmingham
by James Turner
A fruitful journey started on that cold day in Digbeth in January 2016. The training that converted me and a client colleague to film-makers has made a real difference to the way George Eliot Hospital communicates. And it’s delivered results.
We were in the planning stage for a campaign to attempt to recruit nurses at the time – a massive challenge for all hospitals. George Eliot Hospital is a small, 350-bed hospital in Nuneaton. It’s a fantastic place – great care, great leadership and a strong team ethic that struck me from the first day of my posting there from the CSU.
It was that small-hospital team spirit that we thought of as the USP. The ‘Team Eliot’ that the hospital’s CEO sometimes referred to. Our newly-found video skills gave us a way of capturing this spirit and sharing it with potential recruits. It didn’t cost much either – vital for an NHS organisation. Nurses simply talked about their role and why they loved working there. We shared these on facebook where we thought that most of our target audience hung out. We created a hashtag #jointemeliot and shared them on twitter as well.
Example #1: A Theatres open day
Our fantastic theatres team wanted to hold an open day where they came in at the weekend in their own time to open the department for potential recruits to look around. We did #jointeameliot videos for them too and spent 20 quid boosting a Facebook event. 100 people turned up along with the BBC. We recruited seven staff from that day. One of them said they felt they knew us already from what they’d seen on social media. Brilliant.
Example #2: an award-winning flu vaccination campaign
We were really chuffed when the CSU and George Eliot jointly won a CIPR regional award for #jointeameliot and we wait expectantly to hear how we got on in the National HSJ Value awards. Video played a big part in our campaign to raise flu vaccination rates amongst our staff to 75% this year (up from 52% in 2015) scooping us a national NHS FluFighter award.
It’s a campaign that has left a lasting legacy. The #jointeameliot hashtag is still alive – we used it last weekend to generate some interest in a recruitment event that our catering department ran to recruit staff. We had 400 people through the door. It’s spawned a new staff engagement brand of ‘Team Eliot’ – question time sessions, staff drop-ins and walkabouts, and our staff award ceremony has been rebranded the Team Eliot Awards.
James Turner, Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit, embedded as Head of Comms at George Eliot Hospital.