Unraveling the Mystery of SCTs

Released: 12/16/2010

They gather, quietly, in the wee hours of the morning.  Members attend religiously, some coming in after a 12-hour shift or on their off days or vacation days.  They huddle together and come out energized.  They are one of the driving forces behind ideas such as Kaleida’s eBoards.  Just who are these dedicated people, and what are they doing?  They are none other than Kaleida Health’s Strategic Communication Teams, and they are providing a voice for the workforce.

The multidisciplinary communication teams, better known as SCTs, are voluntary work groups, which were started as part of a Kaleida-wide internal communication strategy in 2005.  Its humble beginning started at Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital but has now grown to include all hospital sites, Gates SNF, Deaconess, Larkin, and soon, the VNA.  The teams - a cross-section of both management and labor - vow to leave titles outside the room and take seriously their agreement to abide by "Vegas Rules."  What is discussed confidentially in a SCT meeting stays in the SCT meeting.

But what exactly happens at these team meetings?  According to Catherine Jette, Hand and Shoulder Center of WNY manager, team members listen to guest speakers who keep them informed of initiatives and projects; respond by providing feedback about the projects; communicate the "happenings" around Kaleida; inform the group of workforce rumors or concerns; and collaborate with other SCTs.

Jim Kaskie, Kaleida Health president and CEO, describes the SCT goals and duties similarly.  "I believe the SCTs are a critical linkage to the members of the Kaleida family across our organization," he said.  "They also provide leadership keen insights, candor, and feedback."

Catherine and Jim are not the only ones talking.  Here is what a few of the SCT members are also saying about these influential groups:

"The beauty of this type of team is that all employees have a chance to be heard through this group by reaching out to the SCT member in their department." - Cheryl Sperling, Administrative Secretary, BGH

"I think the SCTs are the pulse of our hospitals.  The members of the SCTs genuinely want to see our organization, and those who work here, become the best they can be." – Nancy Gouvakis, Service Excellence Manager, MFG

"Committee members are trusted with important information and are directly involved in creating strategies to address issues, celebrate successes, and disseminate information throughout the house – consequently, positively impacting staff and patient satisfaction." – Ann Sarkovics, Executive Secretary, MFS

"The SCT is your opportunity for the average worker to communicate their concerns and thoughts to upper management."  Larry Kipler, Pharmacy Technician, WCHOB

"I really feel that finally our leadership hears us." – Cynthia Jackson, Human Resources Assistant, WCHOB

And leadership is listening and taking note of these unique groups.  "The Strategic Communication Teams have evolved to be an essential asset and resource on a range of Kaleida-wide issues, and have been an invaluable barometer on the environmental and cultural pulse of the employee population," Rick Pogue, KH Chief Human Resources Officer, said.

If you would like to be considered as a SCT team member, please contact Gary Brice, Director of Internal Communications, at gcbrice@kaleidahealth.org or 859-8072.