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  • Writer's pictureEric Liddle

Royal Ambulance prioritizes connection and community to support workplace culture.

Two EMTs swiftly transporting a patient on a gurney into the emergency room for immediate care.

Connecting frontline teams can be a heavy lift regardless of the organization, but connecting frontline teams in a 24/7, always on, geographically distributed setting during a pandemic is one for the books.

Partnering with Hospitals, Health Systems, Skilled Nursing Facilities and more, Royal Ambulance facilitates nearly 10,000 trips per month across the Bay Area. The team of 600+ provides critical infrastructure needed to move patients in and out of healthcare facilities throughout the region.

You’ve probably seen recent headlines about the current state of healthcare and specifically the EMS industry. They read: “The Great Resignation this”, “Burn Out that” “Short Staffed again” and so on, pointing to the fact that healthcare is in an undeniable moment of crisis. But as our industry navigates the stressors of the moment, we know that it is critical that we hold fast to our investments in team culture.

Long before the pandemic, Royal was taking thoughtful steps to challenge traditional workplace boundaries by fostering an engaged and connected culture from the frontline to the C-Suite. Bringing in Workplace by META (then Facebook) in 2015, Royal sought opportunities to make investments in the team via enhanced connectivity, creating support networks across the organization.

“We found that meeting our team where they want to be, was the most effective way to encourage engagement and build a supportive culture. Our young and connected team spends their time on social media, so we brought them together on a social media platform.” says Eve Grau, VP of Human Resources at Royal Ambulance.

Early last year, after reviewing thousands of accounts for standout engagement on their platform, Workplace reached out to Royal Ambulance and Virgin Atlantic to be featured in their report: “The 2021 Frontline Barometer” on their blog “Deskless not Voiceless”. As a visual storytelling partner we aligned on a direction, creating a Hollywood caliber short film (primed with a little extra drama) to compliment the findings of the research. The piece features real Royal team members and highlights the human connection between patients, team members and leadership.

“We’ve adopted a new primary customer philosophy,” says Steve Grau, CEO of Royal. “Our team members are our number one customer - full stop. Without them we can’t provide the services that our patients and hospital partners need.”

The breakthrough moment was realizing that an elevated team member experience could not be supported by top to bottom and bottom to top communication, it had to be a collective effort; creating a community for everyone in between.

Behind-the-scenes shot of an EMT being interviewed, sharing insights and experiences from the field.

With our definition of success rooted in the success of our team members, we quickly understood that by bringing our team together, we could empower both community and communication. To do this successfully, we performed journey mapping exercises and understood the moments that matter in team member’s experiences, then utilized Workplace to elevate those key moments in their journey.

Seven years following the implementation, our community is alive and well, operating within a host of channels and community forums that support everything from the practical, like shift changes and company updates, to stories about life saving interventions and the impacts that team members have on their patients.

If you take one thing away from this article, remember that communication is key when you focus on your team. Your people are the ones who will help you through difficult times, they are your number one customer, set them up for success, and they will collectively bring your organization success.

Royal Ambulance Workplace Culture

*Data collected for the Deskless not Voiceless blog was gathered outside of the Royal Ambulance workforce.


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