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Employee Communication In Tough Times Lesley Allman Allman Communication Ltd

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1 Employee Communication In Tough Times Lesley Allman Allman Communication Ltd

2 Survey Background Survey undertaken on line in November/December 2008 Aim was to gain an insight into how the recession is impacting employee communication 60 responses received, mainly from senior in house internal communication and HR specialists Some key UK internal communication trends have been highlighted

3 60 Responses Received 60 responses received – mainly from internal communicators, HR specialists and executives.

4 Q: Has Your Business Been Negatively Affected By The Economic Slowdown? Nearly 70% of businesses surveyed have been negatively affected by the recession.

5 Q: Will Staff Numbers Remain the Same in Your Employee Communication Team? Companys reaction typical – ignore advice on increasing comms and instead slash budget and team numbers Only one in five communication departments expect to cut staff numbers

6 Q: How will 2009 Spend on Employee Communication Change Compared to 2008? Do not stop communicating – maintain - or even enhance all usual channels Comms proposals that were going ahead have all been halted 78% of internal communication budgets will be frozen or cut.

7 Q: Are There Plans to Change the Type of Communication Activity Delivered to Employees in 2009? We cannot get away with nice to have style communication with less than two direct business benefits We are being forced to be leaner and meaner with communication initiatives Comms – more important than ever 67% of respondents are planning to change how they communicate to employees.

8 Q: What are Planned Changes on Print Spend (e.g. newsletters) in 2009 Compared to 2008? Expenses such as newsletters and magazines are being looked at to reduce costs Face to face meetings reassure in a way that print cannot Respondents are turning away from print with 42% planning to spend less.

9 Q: What are Planned Changes on Events Spend (e.g. conferences) in 2009 Compared to 2008? Proposals that were going ahead have been halted such as road shows Spend on events such as conferences looks like it will be reduced, although 22% are planning to spend more.

10 Q: What are Planned Changes on Face to Face Spend (e.g. team meetings) in 2009 compared to 2008? When theres uncertainty, you have to listen harder Need to provide more opportunities for interactive sessions – especially with senior management More regular quick hits as things are changing by the minute 80% of businesses are planning to increase Face to Face meetings with staff.

11 Q: What are Planned Changes to on Online Spend (e.g. intranet) in 2009 Compared to 2008? Intranet – more important than ever 62% of businesses are planning to spend more on their on line communication

12 Summary of Key Findings 68% of businesses negatively impacted by slowdown 78% of Employee Comms budgets frozen or cut Staff numbers will be unchanged in 55% of Employee Comms teams – only 22% will be cut. 67% of respondents plan to change the type of communication activity they will deliver in 2009: 42% to reduce spend on Print 33% to reduce spend on Events 80% to increase spend on Face to Face Meetings 62% to increase spend on Intranet

13 The Three Cs of Employee Communication Channel i.e. Where Content i.e. What Capability i.e. How

14 Recession Specific Content (What) Two out of three companies claim to have increased communication of economic/environment related messages to employees since the financial crisis began (Watson Wyatt, Dec 2008) Yet, two out of five senior managers doubt their company s leadership has a credible plan to address the economic crisis (Booz & Co, Dec 2008) ACTION » Craft consistent content which tells employees honestly and accurately the situation your organisation is in and, at the same time, what is being done to address this. » Make sure employees know what they can do to help / what is expected of them. » Seek their feedback & suggestions. » Execute plans and continue to communicate progress.

15 Recession Specific Channel (Where) Companies are using a variety of channels to deliver recession specific messages. Booz & Co survey showed the following: » 87% Town hall meetings, staff meetings, other face to face » 86% E mail » 76% Intranet » 41% Printed materials » 24% Social Media » 18% Other ACTION » Undertake a communication channel health check to see what is working best for your employees » Supplement business as usual channels with recession specific ones if required. » Ramp up use of quick & dirty listening channels e.g. focus groups & pulse surveys

16 Recession Specific Capability (How) Almost half of respondents in the Booz & Co survey said they were sceptical that leadership were capable of carrying out a plan to survive the recession – including one third of chief execs and board members i.e. the very people who put the plan together. 90% say their senior managers are delivering key recession messages but only around half are using their front line messages to reinforce these messages and explain what they mean for employee work groups. ACTION » Ensure your leaders / line managers have required capability In tough times, leadership & line management must demonstrate consistent understanding of the situation, clarity on the action plan and confidence in its chances of success. » The key to this is to: Communicate, communicate, communicate Listen, listen, listen » If leaders/line managers lack the information or capability to do this, they should be coached/trained immediately.

17 Five Quick Tips Continue to communicate the companys vision, strategy & progress » Show that leadership has a long term plan » Link short term actions to it (i.e. not knee jerk) » Remind employees of their role in delivering it Ensure regular face to face meetings continue to take place » All scheduled team briefings and comms meetings should be maintained. Avoid a vacuum or room for speculation. Create additional opportunities to listen to employees » Undertake informal walkabouts, focus groups and/or pulse surveys Ask employees to put forward their own ideas » Seek ideas for things like maintaining engagement, winning new business or reducing costs Celebrate successes, however small » e.g. keeping or winning business, receiving thanks from a customer, overcoming challenges, winning awards, passing exams, etc.

18 Sources Employee Communication in Tough Times » Allman Communication Ltd – Jan 2009 » Communicating With Employees During the Current Financial Crisis » Watson Wyatt – Dec 2008 » Recession Response: Why Companies Are Making the Wrong Moves » Booz & Company – Dec 2008 »

19 Allman Communication Tel:

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