From classroom to corporate office: A look inside Methodist Healthcare Ministries
By Cassandra H. Martinez, communications coordinator
Having recently graduated from Texas Lutheran University in December 2015, the transition into my professional career was an exciting challenge. The change from college student to communications professional was quite an adjustment in the thought process. I reached my one-year anniversary at Methodist Healthcare Ministries last December, where I have had many new opportunities to learn and grow, but one particular project has helped me gain a new level of understanding of how internal communications plays a role in an organization's success. Preparing for Methodist Healthcare Ministries' first town hall, for instance, was not what I imagined I would be doing the first year into my career, but it taught me so much.
Every year Methodist Healthcare Ministries hosts an employee retreat to provide a day for fellowship and team building. With team members spread across South Texas, it can be difficult maintaining relationships. The retreat provides the space for us to connect with each other. We have a lot of fun playing games, eating and recognizing the many blessings in our life. It is evident Methodist Healthcare Ministries recognizes that in order for team members to provide quality care for patient/clients, they must first take care of themselves. For team members to better understand how their role affects the community we serve, I was tasked with finding a way to create an open line of communication at the retreat. It was with that goal in mind that we decided to host the organization's first ever town hall.
Where to start?
This event was a first for me as much as it was for the organization. Keeping the overall objective in mind I asked myself two questions: What is the goal of this town hall? What will team members and the executive staff want from this type of event? I then moved on to create a project outline that entailed all the moving pieces it would take to make this town hall successful. From sending invites to speaking with leadership, it can get crazy!
When the day of the event came I felt as prepared as I could be, my only fear was running out of time. Everyone loved the vibe. The theme was "Serv-ivor" — a play on the organization's mission, "Serving Humanity to Honor God," and of the hit reality show, Survivor. The program ran smoothly. Both team members and leadership participated in the Q&A session and interactive polls, which made the environment comfortable. The moderator set the tone with a positive approach to open communication and got the audience engaged. The event was executed on time and there were smiles among the crowd along with lots of laughter.
Understanding organizational priorities
As with any project, whether it be college or career, I learned you must stay open to constructive feedback and be ready to modify your plans. When I worked on my senior thesis, it was subject to peer reviews and professors' notes. Now, executive staff and employees influence my work. As a student, I knew the edits I had received affected my grades. In the professional environment, I have to consider the impact my work has on our team members and executive leadership. I had to understand both side's needs and create a balance between the two; our leadership wanted to hear from employees, but they needed team members to listen too.
The town hall represented a step towards creating an open line of communication. Having open communication keeps our team members feeling engaged. When team members feel engaged they have a stronger connection to our mission which helps them build a strong relationship with their patients/clients. All health care organizations have a focus on their patients/clients, but for our leadership, it was and is especially important to extend that same care to team members.
I am happy to be in an environment where leadership continuously looks for opportunities to better connect with the team, thus providing a great place to work while serving others.
Editors' note: Cassandra H. Martinez is a member of Methodist Healthcare Ministries' communications department. Cassandra joined Methodist Healthcare Ministries in 2015 and is responsible for maintaining the organization's internal website, employee campaigns and special events, and identifying new innovative ways to engage nearly 400 employees situated across South Texas.