If you're one of the roughly 10,000 Mississippians that list the University of Mississippi Medical Center as your employer, next time you're on Facebook, go to UMMC: People of the U. It's likely you'll see a familiar face or two.
It's the employees-only, private Facebook group created to allow UMMC employees to learn more about their workplace and each other - and most importantly, to have a voice and share ideas.
The recently formed page awaits those who want to join at https://www.facebook.com/groups/PeopleOfTheU/ To join, you must have a personal Facebook account that can be verified and matched to your listing in the UMMC Directory.
After employees visit the group and request to join, that request will go into a holding area so that employment verification and matching people up with their Facebook accounts can be done. This process can take time, especially if a person's Facebook name doesn't exactly match their UMMC Directory name, but it is an important part of the process to helping ensure the group remains private.
“What's so great about the group is that it provides us with an interactive method of communication. It's not just a way to provide information, it is also a way to obtain feedback and comments,” said Liz Youngblood, CEO of the adult hospitals. “It's two-way communication.”
The page evolved after senior leadership reviewed results of the recent employment engagement survey. “One of the key themes was the opportunity to communicate information using a variety of methods that our employees would utilize,” Youngblood said. “We have the intranet and email, but we realize that social media is a great way to foster interactive communication.”
Director of Public Affairs Marc Rolph came up with the concept of an employee-only Facebook group, Youngblood said. “He developed it and helped us test the concept,” she said.
Rolph said it wasn't hard to come up with a clear way to encourage engagement that allows employees to have a voice. “Social media is pretty universal,” he said. “Most people on this campus use social media, and most are on Facebook. Most of them use it every day.
“So, why not go to a space where people are comfortable, and where they already have an affinity to be engaged?” he said. “It's a place where you can congregate with people who have the same mission as you, which is to create a healthier Mississippi. We're making the Medical Center a little smaller, and pulling people together who many not ever have the chance to come in contact with each other.”
Daniel Enger, operational improvement director for University Hospitals and Health System, has been Hospital Administration's point person during the page's development and testing, Youngblood said. “He's been the connection between the 100-Day Workout teams and the Facebook page,” she said. “He's done a great job helping to recruit people to test the page, and has helped to provide ideas for content.”
Employees like Alice Chaney Herndon are joining up.
“It has allowed me to connect with people in different departments and actually put some names with faces,” said Herndon, a nurse manager on Wiser's Mother-Baby Unit. “I even posted a picture of my staff on Go Red for Women Day because we enjoy friendly competition on the Mother-Baby Unit.”
Herndon, fourth from left, posted this picture of the Mother-Baby Unit and WIC office in the People of the U Facebook group on Go Red for Women Day.
For now, information is being posted that employees can comment on. Long term, Youngblood sees the Facebook page as “the go-to place” where people can share their thoughts and ideas with other employees, including Medical Center and health system administration.
Rolph sees the group's potential effect on communication to and from employees. “We'll have the opportunity for leadership to answer some tough questions,” he said. “We're just getting our feet underneath us now.”
Joining the Group
After requesting to join the new People of the U group, periodically check your umc.edu email or your personal Facebook messages for a request to verify employment that will require your follow-up.