How Employee Involvement kept Mayo Clinic from Flatlining

LaurenHarburn    May 30, 2016

About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a world renowned medical center that specializes in clinical practice, education and research. Based out of the U.S., the three main campuses are located in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and this year alone they have treated over 1.3 million people from around the world who came to the clinic for care. Being the large institution that they are, they have roughly 64,000 personnel which speaks for everyone from physicians and scientists to administration and support staff. The main point of their  mission statement is that the needs of the patient always come first and this focus resonates strongly with all employees enabling them to provide an unparalleled patient experience.



All of the employees are onboard, so where does the problem lie?

In an organization that has this many employees with a wide range of different job expectations, schedules and responsibilities; communication and engagement is easier said than done. In 2008, Mayo Clinic much like many other businesses was harshly affected by the downturn in the economy and barely broke even at the end of the year. It was hard breaking the news to the staff but instead of becoming discouraged, they took control and made a change.

According to Karen Trewin, manager of the company’s institutional communications “Employees all over the organization helped find ways to drive down costs and make the patient care process more efficient, without sacrificing safety or quality. Thanks to them, we had one of the most successful financial years in Mayo Clinic’s history”. The CEO, John H. Noseworthy, knew that in order for Mayo Clinic to survive he needed to take this energy and run with it. There needed to be a way to communicate to the staff that they were a crucial part of Mayo Clinics strategy for continued success and bright future. Their efforts were titled ‘The Mayo Effect” and this inspiring video was made for them.

The “Mayo Effect”

Over the course of 29 face to face meetings, the video was shown to all employees. The goal was to make them feel like they were a part of Mayo’s strategy and empower them – to simply tell them wouldn’t suffice. After showing the video, the employees were referred to a blog which included things such as leadership videos, webcasts of meetings, real-time reporting and updates on Mayo Clinic activities. Most importantly it gave all staff members a voice by encouraging feedback and after only 2 weeks 22,000 staff members had visited.

8 months after the release of this new communication campaign began a survey was taken that revealed:

  • 88 percent of Mayo Clinic staff are very or somewhat aware of The Mayo Effect.
  • 84 percent said they are very or somewhat aware of the strategic plan’s mission, vision and core business statements.
  • 56 percent provided comments about what The Mayo Effect means to them.

Currently, the Mayo Effect is still in progress and it has been taken another step further by encouraging employees to make their own videos sharing their stories and allowing them to vote for their favourites.

Lessons for Others

When it comes to employee involvement there are a few things to remember which proved to work wonders for the Mayo Clinic. In this case they kept it simple, it is less desirable for employees to take part in something that is far outside of their everyday work routine. The numerous meetings that took place were to ensure everyone would get a chance to be involved as well as showing them they were worthy of their leaders time and highly valued. There was no new and foreign technology used – the main tool was the already existing intranet that everyone was already familiar with. By giving their employees access to these new communication tactics, Mayo Clinic was able to uncap the potential of each employee by making it known that they were a highly valued and important member of the team.

These days, Mayo Clinic is known as the gold standard for the use of social media by healthcare organizations. They have a whole center dedicated to social media and offer a course as well as a published book on social media in the healthcare industry!

Organization: Mayo Clinic
Industry: Healthcare
Name of Organization Contact: John. H. Noseworthy, M.D., CEO

Authored by: Lauren Harburn

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


Justice, J. (2013). The Big Brand Theory: How the Mayo Clinic Became the Gold Standard for Social Media in Healthcare. Retrieved May 29, 2016, from

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Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media | Home | Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2016, from

Trewin, K. (2011, July/August). Strengthening employee engagement with social media at Mayo Clinic. Retrieved May 27, 2016, from