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11. Employee Relations


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Title: 11. Employee Relations

11. Employee Relations
  • Lecture by Dr. Mohammed Ibahrine
  • based on Seitels The Practice of Public Relations

Structure of the Lecture
  • 1 Strong Employee Relations Solid Companies
  • 2 dealing with the employee Public
  • 3 Communicating Effectively in a Sea of Doubt
  • 4 Credibility
  • 5 Employee Communication Strategies
  • 6 Employee Communication Tactics

Structure of the Lecture
  • 6 Employee Communication Tactics
  • 6.1 Internal Communications Audits
  • 6.2 Online Communications
  • 6.3 The Intranet
  • 6.4 Print Publication
  • 6.5 Desktop Publishing
  • 6.6 Employee Annual Reports
  • 6.7 Bulletin Boards
  • 6.8 Suggestion Box/Town Hall Meetings
  • 6.9 Internal Video
  • 6.10 Face-to-face Supervisory Communications
  • 7 Dealing with the Grapevine

1 Employee Relations
  • According to Fortune magazine, the top 200 most
    admired corporations in America spent a
    significantly larger share of their
    communications budgets more than 50 percent -
    on employee relations

1 Employee Relations
  • For a variety of reason communicating with
    employees has become increasingly important for
    organizations in the new millennium
  • 1. The wave of downsizings and layoffs that
    dominated business and industry worldwide after
    the high-tech-bubble burst in the early years of
    the 21st century
  • 2. The widening gulf between the pay of senior
    officers and common workers is another reason why
    organizations must be sensitive to employee

1 Employee Relations
  • 3. There is no such thing as lifetime
  • The notion of job stability has disappeared
  • Most employees no longer expect cradle-to-grave
  • The name of the game today is job mobility
  • Consequently, employee trust was at an all-time
  • 4. The merger of geographically dispersed
    organizations is another reason why for increased
    focus on internal communication

1 Employee Relations
  • Business managers have realized that the assets
    of their companies exist very much in the heads
    of their employees
  • Employee communication, then, has become a key
    way and transfer that intellectual capital among
  • Internal communication has become a hot ticket
    in public relations

2 Dealing with Employee Publics
  • Just as there is no such thing as the general
    public, there is also no single employee
  • The employee public is made up of numerous
  • Senior managers
  • First-line supervisors
  • Staff and line employees
  • Women
  • Minority
  • Union laborers
  • Per diem employees
  • Contract workers

2 Dealing with Employee Publics
  • A smart organization will try to differentiate
    messages and communications to reach these
  • Today, the staff is
  • Younger
  • Increasingly female
  • More ambitious
  • Career oriented
  • Less complacent
  • Less loyal to the company

2 Dealing with Employee Publics
  • Internal communications, like external messages,
    must be targeted to reach specific subgroups of
    the employee public
  • Organizing effective, believable and persuasive
    internal communication in the midst of
    organizational change is a core critical public
    relations responsibility in the 21st century

3 Communicating Effectively in a sea of Doubt
  • An organization truly concerned about getting
    through to its employees in an era of downsizing
    and displacement, must reinforce five specific
  • 1. Respect
  • 2. Honest feedback
  • 3. Recognition
  • 4. A voice
  • 5. Encouragement

3 Communicating Effectively in a sea of Doubt
  • 1. Respect Employees must be respected for
    their worth as individuals and their value as

3 Communicating Effectively in a sea of Doubt
  • 2. Honest feedback By talking to workers about
    their strengths and weakness, employees know
    where they stand

3 Communicating Effectively in a sea of Doubt
  • 3. Recognition Employees feel successful when
    management recognizes their contributions
  • It is the duty of the public relations
    professional to suggest mechanisms by which
    deserving employees will be honored

3 Communicating Effectively in a sea of Doubt
  • 4. A voice employees want their ideas to be
    heard and to have a voice in decision making

3 Communicating Effectively in a sea of Doubt
  • 5. Encouragement benefits and money motivate
    employees up to point, but that something else
    is generally necessary
  • This something else is encouragement

3 Communicating Effectively in a sea of Doubt
  • According to Milton Moskowitz, coauthor of The
    100 Best Companies to Work for in America, six
    criteria are important
  • 1. Willingness to express dissent. Employees want
    to be able to feed back to management their
    opinions and even dissent
  • 2. Visibility and proximity of upper management.
    Enlightened companies try to level rank
    distinctions, eliminating such status reminders
    as executives cafeterias
  • They act against hierarchical separation

3 Communicating Effectively in a sea of Doubt
  • 3. Priority of internal o external communication.
    Employees want to be able to feed back to
    management their opinions and even dissent
  • 4. Attention to clarity. Good companies will
    write benefits booklets with clarity to be
    readable for a general audience rather than for
    human resources specialist
  • 5. Friendly tone. Best companies give a sense of
    family in all that they communicate

3 Communicating Effectively in a sea of Doubt
  • 6. Sense of humor. People are principally worried
    about keeping their jobs

4 Credibility
  • The task for management is to convince employees
    that it communicates with them in a truthful,
    frank and direct manner
  • This is the overriding challenge that confronts
    todays internal communicators
  • What internal communications comes down to is

4 Credibility
  • The employee public is a savvy one
  • The management must be truthful
  • The employees want management
  • Research indicates that trust in organizations
    would increase if management
  • Communicated earlier and more frequently

5 Employee Communication Strategies
  • Enhancing credibility, being candid, and winning
    trust must be the primary employee communications
    objectives in the new century
  • Five elements are key in any strategic program
  • 1. Survey employees attitudes regularly.
    Internal communications audits and attitudes
    surveys can identify problems before they become
  • 2. Be consistent. Management that promises open
    and honest communications must practice it
  • An open door must remain open not just partly
    open part of the time

5 Employee Communication Strategies
  • 3. Personalize communication. Workers want
    personal attention from those for whom they work,
    particularly their immediate supervisor. The best
    internal communications are those are personal
    and face-to-face
  • 4. Be candid. Employee today are younger, less
    well educated, less loyal
  • 5. Be innovative. New employees in the workforce
    and increase skepticism in the workplace demand
    new communications technology solutions (voice,
    video, data transmission on PCs and so on)

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • Once objectives are set, a variety of techniques
    can be adopted to reach the staff
  • The initial tool again is research
  • Before any communications program can be
    implemented, communicators must have a good sense
    of staff attitudes

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.1 Internal Communications Audits
  • The internal communications audit is the most
    beneficial form of research on which to lay the
    groundwork for effective employee communications
  • This starts with personal, in-depth interviews
    with both top management and communicators
  • It is important to find out what communicators
    think management wants

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.1 Internal Communications Audits
  • The three critical audit questions are
  • 1. How do internal communications support the
    mission of the organization?
  • 2. Do internal communications have managements
  • 3. How responsive to employee needs and concerns
    are internal?

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.2 Online Communications
  • The age of online communications has ushered in a
    whole new set of employee communications
  • E-mail
  • Voice
  • Tailored organizational intranets
  • Tailored online newsletters

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.4 The Intranet
  • The Intranet has overtaken print communication
  • Intranet creators should keep in mind several
    important considerations
  • Consider the culture
  • Set clear objectives and then let it evolve
  • Treat it as a journalistic enterprise
  • Market, market and market
  • Senior management must commit

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.5 Print Publications
  • The advent of online internal communication has
    been hard on print publications
  • Employee newsletters should appear regularly on
    time and with consistent format
  • In the 21st century, such newsletters provide two
    way communications, expressing not only
    management wishes but staff concerns as well

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.6 Desktop Publishing
  • Desktop publishing enables a public relations
    professional to produce a newsletter at his or
    her own desk
  • Introduced in 1985, desktop publishing allows an
    editor to write , lay out, and typeset a piece of
  • A typical newsletter editor must consider the
    following steps in approaching the task

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.6 Desktop Publishing
  • 1. Assigning stories. Articles assignments must
    focus on organizational strategies and management
  • Job information
  • Organizational changes
  • Mergers, reasons behind decisions
  • 2. Enforcing deadlines Employees respect a
    newsletter that comes out at a specific time
  • An editor must assign and enforce rigid copy
  • Deadline slippage can not be tolerated

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.6 Desktop Publishing
  • 3. Assigning photos. People like photos
  • 4. Editing copy. An editor must be just that a
    critic of sloppy writing, a student of forceful
  • 5. Formatting copy. An editor, particularly a
    desktop editor, must also make the final
    decisions on the format of the newsletter how
    long articles should
  • 6. Ensuring on-time publication. In publishing,
    timeliness is next to godliness
  • It is the editors responsibility to ensure that
    no last-minute glitches interfere with on-time

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.6 Desktop Publishing
  • 7. Critiquing. The editors job must continue
  • Review copy, photos, placement, content,
    philosophy and all the other elements to ensure
    that the next edition will be even better

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.7 Employee Annual Reports
  • Most employees do care about how their
    organization functions and what its management is
  • The annual report to the staff is a good place to
    discuss such issues informally, yet candidly

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.7 Employee Annual Reports
  • The report can be
  • Factual explaining the performance of the
    organization during the year
  • Informational reviewing organizational changes
    and significant milestones during the year
  • Motivational in its implicit appeal to team
    spirit and pride

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.7 Employee Annual Reports
  • Typical features of the employee annual report
    include the following
  • Chief executives letter
  • Use-of-funds statement
  • Financial condition
  • Description of the company
  • Social responsibility highlights
  • Staff financial highlights
  • Organizational policy
  • Emphasis on people

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.8 Bulletin Boards
  • Bulletin boards, among the most ancient of
    employee communications vehicles, have made a
    comeback in recent years
  • Classical use of bulletin boards was limited to
    policy data for such activities as fire drills
    and emergency procedures
  • Most employees rarely consulted them

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.8 Bulletin Boards
  • BB has experienced a renaissance and is now being
    used to improve productivity, cut waste, and
    reduce accidents on the jobs
  • Best of all employees are taking notice
  • BB has become today's news center
  • It has been repacked into a more lively visual
    and graphically arresting medium
  • BB has become an important source of employee

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.9 Suggestion Box/ Town Hall Meetings
  • Two other traditional staples of employee
    communication are the suggestion box and the town
    hall meeting
  • In the old times, suggestion boxes were mounted
    on each floor, and employees, often anonymously,
    deposited their thoughts on how to improve the
    company and its processes and products

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.9 Suggestion Box/ Town Hall Meetings
  • Town hall meetings are large gatherings of
    employees with top management, where no subject
    is off limits, and management-staff dialogue is
    the goal
  • Town hall meetings must encourage unfettered
    two-way communication
  • In the 21st century, with employees increasingly
    suspect of all in charge, only candid, open and
    honest communications work

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.10 Internal Video
  • Video has had an up-and-down history as an
    internal communications medium
  • Internal video is a medium that must be
    approached with caution
  • Unless video is of broadcast quality, few will
    tolerate it, especially an audience of employees
    weaned on television
  • A public relations professionals must raise at
    least a dozen questions before embarking on an
    internal video venture

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.10 Internal Video
  • 1. Why are doing this video?
  • 2. Whom we are trying to reach with this video?
  • 3. What is the point of the video?
  • 4. What do we want viewers to do after seeing the
  • 5. How good is our video script?
  • 6. How sophisticated is the quality of our
  • 7. How innovative and creative is the broadcast)
    Does it measure up to regular television?
  • 8. How competent is our talent?
  • 9. How much money can we spend?

6 Employee Communications Tactics
  • 6.11 Face-to-face Supervisory Communications
  • Employees want information face-to-face from
    their supervisors
  • Supervisors are the preferred source of 90
    percent of employees, making them the top choice
    by far
  • You report to your supervisor, who awards your
    raise, promotes you and is your primary source of
    corporate information

7 Dealing with the Grapevine
  • In many organizations, it is neither the Internet
    nor cyberspace that dominates communications but
    rather the company grapevine
  • The rumor mill can be devastating
  • Rumors, once they pick up steam, are difficult to
    stop, if not possible, and it is usually not
    worth the time

7 Dealing with the Grapevine
  • It should not necessarily be treated as the enemy
    of effective communications with employees
  • Management might even consider using it as a
    positive force
  • It may be even more valuable because it is
  • Everyone seems to tap into it
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