In this second of a three-part series about the PR pro’s role in communicating change, the author discusses how to assess what attitudes your stakeholders have regarding change. This is easier said than done as attitudes likely will differ between groups of stakeholders, regions and professions. Owing to its importance and sensitivity, change requires communication that is multi-dimensional. This is a time for two-way communication.
Chili’s restaurants served over 200,000 free meals to veterans on Veterans Day. One of those meals went very, very poorly, and now the restaurant chain is in a worse position than if it had never undertaken the effort in the first place. What went wrong? An act of kindness to veterans should have been non-controversial.
Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. (TAMS) struggled with ensuring integration. As I’m certain you know, in a fast-paced environment it’s very easy to get caught up in your projects and fail to consider integration, or much of anything besides your immediate team. Over the past five years TAMS has implemented processes that have helped—dare I say forced—its marketing organization to integrate. Here’s how TAMS did it.
The second part of a two-part series about building an employee intranet. This part of the article deals with the actual build and design of the system and why it’s important to keep a beta user team and your C-suite advocates briefed.
Those outside the corporate world can be blissfully unaware of how unwieldy a corporation can be, especially when it comes to getting new initiatives implemented and everyone on board, paddling in the same direction. But effecting change across large organizations is more often like slaloming the Titanic through a gantlet of icebergs. The lurking danger, just under the surface, is lack of communication.
Research consistently shows that effective internal communications help increase employee job satisfaction, productivity, morale, commitment and trust. An engaged workforce inspires excellence and results in employees who are motivated and consistently produce good work. As we know, to achieve staff engagement, employees must be kept informed through regular and effective communications that are timely and relevant. So how can organizations use PR to continually connect with employees?
We most often hear about updates to the hardware and software platforms we depend on through a product launch, some early buzz about the next iPhone, updates to the Microsoft Office suite or early leaked photos and video of Snap spectacles. And no matter how many blogs, Twitter handles or newsletters you follow, it seems we are more often than not part of the consumer pool, hearing about these new things as they launch. We’re then left scrambling to adjust our strategies and skill mixes to adapt and adopt so as to not be left behind. What if communicators and IT worked together instead of assuming it was an “us vs. them” scenario?
It’s getting to the point where we should start to doubt whether digital privacy is a reliable concept anymore. For PR professionals in particular, it’s time to put that doubt into practice in their internal communications. Email and Twitter DMs are not mediums where one can safely blow off steam or otherwise behave unprofessionally.
Though performance varies from group to group, the overall verdict is that “organizations need to help their employees better align with their organization’s strategy.” Conflicting priorities at work, caused by too many initiatives happening simultaneously, cause employees to feel more connected to their profession in general than to the organization that employs them.
In the pursuit of harmony and minimizing conflict, people will often go along with the consensus of the group even if they have an alternative idea, or in more extreme cases, think the group’s idea is a bad one. Thus, even without any explicit repression, the opinions of the minority—or even the less-vocal majority—are not heard or taken into account. This is the problem that the term “groupthink” was coined in 1952 to address—”a perennial failing of mankind,” as coiner William H. Whyte, Jr. put it.