“Employee communication is the Rodney Dangerfield of PR.”
That’s the assessment of Bruce K. Berger, Ph.D., the Reese Phifer Professor of Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Alabama. While researching the latest literature on best practices in employee communication, I came across his excellent speech delivered in October 2011 to the PRSA International Conference. In it, Dr. Berger makes a compelling case that in spite of all the research proving the business value of employee communication — and there has been much in the last 10 years — it still gets no respect.
Dr. Berger argues that employee communication in most companies is “utter folly” because they “continue to act against their own self interests by perpetuating failed communication programs that drive employee distrust and
cynicism and reduce engagement and commitment.”
He adds: “We know what needs to be done to create cultures for communication, but too many organizations just don’t do it. They fail to move from KNOWING to DOING.”
I’ve chosen to make employee communication my career because I believe in its potential to change and drive organizations. I’m passionate about it (despite agreeing with Dr. Berger that employee communication is decidedly not as sexy as media relations or crisis communications). From the beginning, though, I had to dig deep for research that bears out employee communication’s value. Well, we have the research, so now there’s not much excuse for organizations that fail to actually do something.
Read Dr. Berger’s lecture here. It’s only 10 pages and worth every minute if you believe, as I do, that employee communication is the most important communication in which an organization can engage.
Filed under: Change, Communication Jobs, Communication Measurement, Culture Change, Employee Communication, Strategic Communication | Tagged: Bruce K. Berger, Communication Measurement, communication research, culture of communication, Employee Communication, employee engagement, Grunig Lecture, PRSA, PRSA International Conference, University of Alabama |