Results

Research Support

Challenge:
The vice president/communication for a major energy company needed to understand the pros and cons of keeping or outsourcing the corporate television and video production studio and staff. He needed confidential, objective research about how similar organizations had assessed the options and make decisions, and the results of those decisions.

Solution:
The executive hired Diane St. John to research and report. Through her contacts in the International Association of Business Communicators and the Public Relations Society of America, she located communication leaders in similar situations, interviewed them and conducted other Internet-based research that provided additional perspectives. She summarized her findings and included contact information for follow-up for select sources.

Results:
The information allowed the communications executive to benefit from the research, thinking and actions of others in his situation and develop a knowledge-based plan for presenting the options and recommendations to staff and senior management.


Executive Speech Writing

Challenge:
The senior communications officer of a multi-state telephone services company knew that senior leaders are the preferred spokespersons for their organizations with both internal and external audiences. He also knew that a strong, visible, articulate leader is one of the best internal and external marketing agents for the organization. But his president was a lineman who had worked is way up and was not an experienced speaker.

Solution:
He asked Diane to get to know the president and to help him verbalize his key messages and put them into language that would be natural and easy for him to deliver.

Results:
Through relaxed interviews, Diane discovered that one of the president’s heroes was Mark Twain. As background for the president’s next speech, Diane read two books by Twain and a collection of his quotes. She kept the topic well focused and incorporated the language style and a couple of appropriate Twain quotes into the speech. The president was delighted and, as a result, gave a relaxed, natural, believable and well-received presentation to employees.


Rebuilding Trust

Challenge:
The senior leadership team of a 5,000 employee, multi-state firm had lost the respect and cooperation of the workforce. An internal survey had pointed to communication as one of the key areas of dissatisfaction among all employee groups.

Solution:
The new vice president of corporate communication hired Communication Strategies to lead a cross-functional team to uncover communication problems and propose solutions. Services included conducting executive interviews and employee focus groups, administering and analyzing a written questionnaire, and providing a full report on the findings and recommendations.

Results:
The CEO and leadership team heard clear, quantifiable descriptions of exactly where and how communication was broken, what employees needed to restore their trust in leaders and specific actions that would begin repairing the damage. They chose areas for immediate and long-term improvement. Here are just two examples: Leaders began meeting with employees in small groups to answer questions and address issues. Supervisors were provided communication skills training and resources and were invited to quarterly leadership meetings. As a result of these and other actions, communication between all levels of the organization began improving, and with it employee satisfaction and trust.


Explaining Benefits Options

Challenge:
A newly merged organization had to equalize benefits among employees with different organizational cultures and benefit options. Although the benefits team wanted to use the best plan in each case, budget constraints meant that some employees would lose valued benefits. Leaders wanted employees to perceive the benefits package as a strong indicator that the new organization would be a good and fair place to work. They also wanted to minimize the administrative costs of the enrollment process.

Solution:
Communication Strategies partnered with HR leaders, benefits specialists and the internal communications staff to determine information needs, plan resources, and create all print and electronic communications to gain acceptance of the new benefits package from leaders and employees and to achieve trouble-free, on-time electronic enrollment.

Results:
The executive team gave immediate approval to the benefits plan and its implementation. HR representatives, managers and supervisors received advance information and coaching on the new plans, with resources to help them address employee questions and concerns. Key external service providers, including the staff of the outsourced benefits service center, were kept well informed of how to address employee issues. Employee acceptance and on-time enrollment in the plan exceeded goals.


Making Mergers Work

Challenge:
The successful merger of two global companies depended on minimizing employee concerns and maximizing confidence in the new leadership team, organizational changes and future prospects.

Solution:
Communication Strategies was brought in to help the Corporate Communications team develop internal communication objectives, strategies and tactics for announcing the merger and introducing the new leaders. One of many services provided was coordinating the writing and production of an animated video to launch a series of employee meetings.

Results:
The original animated video helped to break the ice and signal employees in the U.S. and Canada that the new, larger organization would be a highly respected leader in the industry and a fun place to work. Although there was no budget for formal research, the new leadership team praised the message, tone and quality of the video and the humor helped to dispel employees’ initial anxieties. The video won Best of Show in a regional PRSA awards program.

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