How a new brand positioning for Zuyderland leads to committed employees


# involvement, #employerbrand, # merger, # identity, # brand positioning, # hospital, # care organization



Looking for an own face and a fresh common perspective

After a merger period and a difficult financial time it turned out that the involvement of Zuyderland employees could use some attention. For us reason to look for our own story; the story of Zuyderland, after what binds us. And to do that by formulating from the strength of our organization and where we want to go together. In order to increase the involvement of employees at Zuyderland. Something that is always important, but especially in this time of labor market shortages in healthcare.

We knew Branddoctors from an earlier brand positioning process. Based on our previous experience, we were convinced that we had to look for our own face, because of the positive effect that this has on recognisability and involvement of employees in your organization. It helps to get employees enthusiastic and to successfully implement your strategy.

Being heard paves the way for progress

At the start of the process, we noticed that not everyone was equally willing to participate. There was still some frustration in people and also pain from the merger. Relocating care and related staff has had a considerable impact. Add to that a difficult financial period in which not much was possible for employees. That meant that employees also felt like: let's just do our work, just leave us alone.
In the sessions with employees, Branddoctors gave a lot of room to that frustration. They have not avoided it, but have listened to it seriously. That has largely been the strength of this process. Employees enjoyed the fact that for the first time after all these years they had the opportunity to tell their story. They felt heard. At the same time, the frustrations that have been translated into the hindering behavioral patterns present in our organization. For these patterns it has been mapped out how we can convert them into the realization of more energy. These insights help us to really move forward.

“We have a Zuyderland identity for the first time. It really belongs to us all. It is not just the story of Zuyderland and 3 values. It is so much more. "

Typical Zuyderland

The precise approach emerged during the process. From day 1 there was a sounding board group for the process, with a cross-section of our organization. From caregiver in home care and nurse in the hospital to manager and medical specialist. Together we determined which steps we would take when and with whom. Which work forms we were going to use and how we would transfer the information. For example, not only the outcome of the trajectory is typical Zuyderland, but the same applied to the approach. And that was crucial for success.

In total, more than 350 employees participated in this process, in the form of interviews, work sessions and information sessions. It has been a fairly intensive search with a lot of discussion. But it was really important for us to involve as many people as possible. Of course, a cultural change does not only apply to a certain group of people in an organization. It applies to all of us.

“Branddoctors was able to touch the individuality of the organization in a fantastic way. These values ​​really are. I notice that every day. "

A common denominator as a new starting point

Ultimately we now have a great result in our hands, namely a new identity from Zuyderland. The promise we have formulated is: The care of your life. And that includes 3 core values: 1. With attention, 2. Refreshing everyday and 3. In conjunction. With this, Branddoctors could really touch the individuality of the organization in a fantastic way. These values ​​really are. We notice that every day. We are also being challenged with this result to give substance to this. To enter into dialogue with each other and to have faith in each other.

We advise everyone to look for what makes your organization your own. With the aim of creating genuine employee involvement. Investing in this is investing in your organization. For us, we now have a Zuyderland identity for the first time. Who really is all of us. It is not just the story of Zuyderland and 3 values. It is so much more.

How do you increase employee engagement? By becoming aware of what is holding back employees and doing something about it.

Three demotivating factors:

  • Employee wants to move forward, but everyone maintains each other's behavior. The characteristic feature of behavior-limiting patterns, of which we have seen 6 in Zuyderland, is that it affects everyone. These patterns are so stubborn that one cannot get along with each other and gets stuck. It takes clarification of those patterns in combination with specific work forms to get started. These have now been developed for everyone to get started with.
  • Employees suffer from permanent hectic life and are lived by the issues of the day. Everyone is busy and there is no time to stand still, to see what is happening or to make clear choices. The positioning and the values ​​offer focus to determine together what is important and to make choices about what you do and do not do. It helps to reflect on what you really find important and what you want to pay attention to.
  • Employees are reminded by the outside world that the organization is not functioning optimally. Poor cooperation on the inside, is also felt on the outside. Many organizations do not realize that low involvement within the organization translates to the 'outside world'. The market, such as patients and stakeholders, is also frustrated because communication and focus are poorly regulated internally, for example. The advantage of an organization where people all work towards the same goal is that this can be felt positively in the service to the outside.

Zuyderland is a large and unique care organization in South Limburg with 9.500 employees, which offers hospital care, care for the elderly, mental health care, home care and domestic help (JGZ was transferred to the GGD on 01-01 this year). We spoke with Wideke Nijdam (member of the Board of Management), Karel Hulsewé (surgeon and member of the board) and Esther Urlings-Willems (head of P&O) about this process.

Mike Janssen

Managing partner

Mike Janssen