One thing that is certain the in PR world—supposedly a font of original thinking—is that when the subject is employee relations, history repeats. So it is with much certainty that some of the following will happen in 2013.
An employee will be terminated and be told, “You’re not getting a chance to show what you can do here. Your talent is going to waste and we don’t want to hold you back.”
An employee will turn down a job from another agency after being told by a supervisor that, "You’ll be making a big mistake if you leave; we have big plans for you,” and be let go in a staff reduction a month later.
A college senior will be assured that after graduation you have a job here, only to be told after the cap and gown ceremony, “Sorry, we have a hiring freeze.”
A new hire will be told this agency’s prime mission is to help our clients, and doing that will help you, but then be berated for spending too much time on the client.
Another new hire will be told “regardless of budget size” we treat all out clients alike, but soon notice that the agency’s stars are all assigned to the big budget clients.
An an account executive will receive continuous glowing reports from a client and top management will see ghosts and reassign the a.e. to another account “for your own good.”
An a.e. will think that because he is the drinking buddy of his client that the client will go to the wall for him when things go bad, but learn differently.
Account supervisors will try to take credit for the brilliant work of people they manage.
The good ideas of an a.e. at a creative session will be presented as a team effort to make certain that top management doesn’t know who thought of them.
An a.e. will be assigned to a sure-to-fail flawed assignment and will be berated by supervisors when it does fail.
Placement people will be made the fall persons by account teams when in actuality it was the account team’s programs that didn’t contain anything new, anything different, anything original or anything newsworthy.
An account supervisor will feel threatened by an underling’s work, make minor changes and submit it to management as a two person effort.
A placement person will be told to be more aggressive when pitching, as if that will result in a hit.
People who have never spoken to a reporter in their lives will advise others on how to deal with the media.
Account supervisors who are not familiar with the content of various newspapers, magazines and TV shows will create a target hit list and demand “results or else.”
A reporter will come up with an idea for a story and ask the a.e to provide information and arrange interviews and the a.e. will take full credit for the idea.
A group manager will tell attendees at a meeting to be frank about expressing opinions about the supervisor’s proposed new program, and then get angry when someone points out the flaws.
And if you think the above are just pipe dreams, wait until it happens to you.
Arthur Solomon was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles on national and international sports and non-sports programs. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations and sports business publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.