2. Create a communication plan

Effective and regular communication with relevant workers throughout all stages of implementing Caring for the Paramedic Community is critical for increasing and enhancing engagement.

Here are some ways to increase communication throughout your organization:

Ensure that your organization is prepared

It is important that key organizational leaders and key worker representatives understand the nature and purpose of the survey and how this quality improvement initiative will be of benefit to your organization and to Canadian paramedics. You may need to provide information to address data security and privacy concerns.

Inform your workers about the online survey

Communicating with your workers openly and early in the process enhances participation, engagement and interest. It also gives workers time to ask questions or raise concerns. Organizations should aim to gather responses from as many workers as possible, rather than those only interested in particular issues.

Send reminders

Participation can also be increased by sending reminders to workers asking them to complete the survey if they have not yet done so. This is best done midway through implementing the survey, as well as two or three days before it closes.

Send reminders

Answer questions

To maximize worker engagement and participation in the survey, it is important to provide a contact person(s) who can answer questions. The Frequently Asked Questions page is a good starting point and resource.

Provide incentives

Participation can also be increased by providing workers with an incentive (e.g., movie passes, coffee cards, etc.). For smaller PSOs this may not be viable and minimal-cost incentives may be more appropriate. Minimal-cost incentives could be providing staff with time at work to complete the survey or encouraging friendly rivalry between work teams, etc. to see who can have the highest completion rate.

Thank your workers

Send a thank you message following the end date of the survey. This highlights your appreciation and acknowledges worker time, effort and opinions.

Send a thank you message following the end date of the survey. This highlights your appreciation and acknowledges worker time, effort and opinions.

Ensure that your organization is prepared for distribution of an online survey.

PSOs and workers have the ongoing requirement to provide timely, safe and effective patient care; often while also contending with significant organizational change resulting from financial, policy or labour factors. These competing priorities can lead to worker confusion and overload which can be manifest as ‘survey fatigue’. In some cases, there may be a lack of trust that survey results will be communicated to all workers or will lead to meaningful action. For these reasons, it is very important that PSOs are mindful of organizational ‘readiness for change’. This requires thoughtful consideration about the timing, relevance and commitment of the organization to implementation of the survey. A useful tool to guide this process is the Measure of Organizational Readiness for Psychological Health (MORPH).

Inform your workers about the online survey.

It is important to emphasize your goal of gathering input from all workers to represent the diversity of perspectives.

There are a number of ways to communicate information to your workers about the survey. This may be done via staff meetings, e-mails, mailings, newsletters, and notice boards. You may wish to communicate the following key messages:

  • The survey is brief and should only require 15-20 minutes to complete.
  • Senior management and worker representatives support the survey. This will encourage all workers to complete the survey.
  • Feedback from PSO personnel is critical. Workers are being asked to complete the survey because this PSO is committed to ensuring the psychological health and safety of its workforce. Getting feedback from all staff, whether they provide direct patient care or are in administrative or support roles, is critical to the success of this effort.
  • Participation is voluntary. All information from the survey is confidential. No personal information will be gathered. Results of the survey will be summarized with no identifying information included.

Below is suggested text you can use to introduce and provide access to the survey. Feel free to modify content as needed. You may also wish to split the content over two emails for ease of communication. We suggest that the first email could introduce the survey and a second could be used to provide employees with the link.

One of [INSERT ORGANIZATION/PSO NAME]’s important goals is to create and maintain a psychologically healthy workplace for all paramedic personnel. We recognize that our workers are our most valuable asset. Paying attention to well-being helps individuals and strengthens the organization as a whole.

In order to accomplish this, [INSERT NAME OF ORGANIZATIONAL LEADER(S)], in partnership and consultation with [INSERT UNION/HUMAN RESOURCES/OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY, IF RELEVANT], we are asking you to complete a brief, online survey. This is completed anonymously on-line and will take 15-25 minutes to complete. No personal information is asked, and all responses are confidential. The survey results will be stored on a Canadian server and will only be available to independent consultants on request. Our organization will receive a summary report which will be used to contribute to our efforts to improve workplace psychological health and safety.

Please click on this link to go to the survey [INSERT SURVEY LINK HERE]. The survey may be accessed from any computer, smart phone or tablet. PLEASE NOTE: once you have started the survey you will not be able to go back to complete it so please give yourself enough time.

Please do not hesitate to contact [INSERT NAME/TITLE/NUMBER/EMAIL] if you have any questions at all.

With our thanks,

  • Organizational Champion
  • Key Informant