What We’re Reading—Employee Communication

Often when people think of how a business communicates, they think externally: what the company advertises on TV, how they respond to customer complaints or what they say in media interviews. Yet, one of the most important audiences a company communicates with is its employees. This week, we’ve pulled together some of our favorite articles about how organizations are engaging employees through new communication strategies.

  1. AT&T realizes just how significant social media can be in improving employee performance. The company recently invested in developing internal social media profiles for each of its employees, which will help employees work collaboratively and identify people who possess certain skills that could come in handy for a new project. AT&T estimates that improving employee profiles with information such as personal work history and areas of expertise will increase productivity and save the company $80 million over five years. AT&T is also using the opportunity to develop reverse mentoring in which younger, lower-level employees teach company leaders to use social media more effectively. Improving employee engagement through one of our favorite communication mediums? Bravo, AT&T!
  2. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is taking steps to better train the business workforce. According to a new study, many American business leaders worry that today’s M.B.A. grads aren’t receiving training to manage corporate crises due to a lack of strategic communication and reputation management skills. Since we understand just how important reputation management is for an organization, we are thrilled to learn about the PRSA’s M.B.A. Initiative, an effort to incorporate more public relations coursework into business school curricula to better prepare future executives to handle reputational challenges.
  3.  Meanwhile, Jeff Stibel shared a fascinating employee engagement initiative in a recent Harvard Business Review post. In an effort to create a company culture where “employees can take risks without fear of reprisal,” this CEO encourages employees to write their personal and professional failures on what he dubbed the Failure Wall, a wall decorated with inspirational quotes about failure. His organizational culture upholds the philosophy that “we don’t just encourage risk taking at our offices: we demand failure. If you’re not failing every now and then, you’re probably not advancing.” What a great reminder that organizations that want to communicate success among their teams must also be willing to communicate, accept and even celebrate failures they encounter on the way.

What does your organization do to communicate with employees? Do you brainstorm new ideas together? Create channels (newsletters, intranets or even walls) where members of your company can share updates about project successes, and perhaps a few failures? Or do you, like us, find time to help to team reflect on your mission and reconnect with one another at a staff retreat or a holiday party?

 What are your favorite ways to engage people at your workplace?