CEO turnovers are becoming an increasingly common occurrence in the business world. From a messaging standpoint, what’s most important when it comes to leadership changes is how the news is communicated to stakeholders, especially to internal employees. Change can be scary, and it is crucial to ensure the company’s workforce understands what’s going on, how it will impact them and the organization as a whole and how the transition process will take effect.
A PR crisis often becomes a media feeding frenzy. When the crisis involves a media brand and a CEO, it’s a frenzy run amok. Media, like PR, usually abhors being the story. The sexual harassment allegations against CBS chief Les Moonves are far more than the story of a top media executive and his brand wishing to stay out of the news, though. Communicators will be watching closely to see how CBS talks about this crisis, although the network might not be allowed make all its own choices.
Employees of several companies, from Silicon Valley stalwarts like Amazon and Microsoft to professional services network Deloitte and its competitor McKinsey & Company, have publicly raised moral objections to the work that their companies conduct with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), which carries out border separations. The trend presents a question for internal communicators: How should brands respond when employees object to business partnerships on moral grounds?
Internal communications is hard. So is change. There may be few things more difficult for communicators than to explain changes to employees. We asked 13 PR pros for their best practices in handling this delicate form of communications.
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It is unlikely we’ll read much about brand communicators working long hours as a spate of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) grips corporate America, particularly in media. Communicators will be tasked with explaining what a future merged company will mean to employees, which is the heavy lifting of M&As, argues Larry Parnell of George Washington University. While most M&As fail to provide shareholder value, strong internal communications can provide a foundation for mergers to succeed. Jason Meyer of APCO Worldwide provides best practices for communicating during times of change.
What is the best way for communicators to report up to the C-suite? For Nisha Morris, executive director for communication at Providence St. Joseph Health, the foundation for such work is based on communicators gaining the trust of the C-suite. She offers insights that have helped her and her team do so.
Start with the premise that all business issues can be traced to a communications breakdown. If true, this means internal communications pros should be critical to fixing organizations’ business problems. Institute for PR Measurement Commission member Mary Miller describes how internal communicators can rise from producing outputs (company-wide emails, intranet content, e-newsletters, executive videos, etc.) to influencing measurable performance outcomes.
So many communicators tell us that internal communications just might be the most difficult assignment for a PR pro. This article provides real-world examples of how two brands, Slack and Dropbox, build engagement and excitement within their ranks with the ultimate goal of creating brand advocates.
It may be a long road ahead for Toys R Us, the iconic retailer that said it will be closing nearly 200 of its 800 stores beginning next month. The brand is in chapter 11, yet it intends to rebound. Internal communications best practices recommend treating departing and remaining employees with respect. For Toys R Us, which soon will have a lot of both kinds of employees, this lesson could be crucial.