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Internal communications

McDonald’s Is Losing the PR Battle Over Wages

mcd's restaurantThe fight over wages for McDonald’s workers has intensified in recent months and it’s only getting more heated now that lawsuits in California, New York and Michigan allege that the fast-food chain used all sorts of short cuts to short change employees. That includes making employees pay for their own uniforms in some places and making them wait before checking in and out of their shifts.

Add to that ongoing protests and you’ve got a situation that the chain would like to see go away.

The employee uprising has been going on now for months. And perhaps, McDonald’s thought it would eventually quiet down and things could go back to business as usual. After all, the argument against higher wages (remember, protesters are looking for as much as $15 per hour) is that it would drive up prices. And no one wants to pay more for their Big Macs and those fries.

But it’s gotten to the point where McDonald’s is giving off the air of being selfish and cruel in the ways it’s taking advantage of its workers.

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5 Tips for Better Internal Communications

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Remember when we used to talk? 

Public relations is supposed to the art and the science of communications. If that were so, we would understand that term more holistically. We communicate in many ways to many people; yet, a forgotten aspect of this thing we call “our life’s work” is internal communications. 

How well are we helping our clients if we aren’t teaching that team to speak to one another, share the brand, discuss improvements, learn to drink the same Kool-Aid? We aren’t and I’m surprised more clients don’t call us out on that. If the client has a stronger team internally because of the work we are doing externally, said client will be reminded of our greatness more often.

Now that I have your attention, here are 5 tips to enhance better internal communications. You’re welcome.

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Ohio Walmart Holding A Food Drive For Its Own Employees Makes Us All Feel So Many Things

walmart food driveIn the midst of a nationwide discussion over whether we should raise the minimum wage, a Walmart in Canton, OH seems to be answering the question. The store is holding a Thanksgiving food drive to help the needy. The needy, in this case, are people who work for the store.

A photo of the collection bins (at right) has gone viral after being passed around by the group Our Walmart, which has been working with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union to unionize Walmart employees.

A spokesperson for the store, Kory Lundberg, explained that if you’re thinking maybe the company needs to pay workers enough so they don’t struggle to put food on the table for Thanksgiving, you’ve got it all wrong. This is something that has been going on for years, she says.

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8 Tools to Help Companies Connect With Employees

Socrates, Circuit and Spotlight: you may find these sites while searching online, but you won’t be granted access. Unless, that is, you work at General Motors, Intel, or SunTrust Banks; these are intranet sites for those companies’ employees.

Intranets, proprietary social media platforms, mobile apps and rewards programs were on PRSA Connect13’s conference “employee social communications” agenda in New York on Tuesday, where corporate presenters ranging from industry leaders to resurgent companies shared case studies.

The following connection tips and tools aren’t new, but these companies, as well as SAS and IBM, found interesting ways to adapt them for employees.

1. Intranet: Circuit is Intel’s go-to platform, created to help employees follow company news and post related comments. Intel’s corporate initiatives director Melissa McVicker told attendees that employees use their personal pages to enter countdowns to their sabbaticals (which they earn every seven years).

2. Customized social media platforms: SAS maintains The Hub, hosted by SocialCast. Here employees join personal and work groups and give props to peers with a “thanks” feature. They’re also encouraged to submit ideas — and top-rated concepts make their way to R&D. CEO Jim Goodnight posts content, as do many employees. The Hub also serves as a real-time engagement platform: according to SAS internal communications manager Becky Graebe, two employees met, fell for each other and literally got engaged there.

3. Mobile apps: Intel introduced GoMyBenMobile, an app where its engineers and manufacturing employees have easy access to benefits information and company news without needing laptops.

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The New Yahoo Prohibits Telecommuting, Irks Communications Team

Yahoo CEO Marissa MayerLast week Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer unveiled the property’s new look and features. But one aspect of her rebranding that escaped our attention was an absolute refusal to allow employees to work remotely. As an internal memo put it, “We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.” In other words, come to the office every day or you’re fired.

Some of Mayer’s team members didn’t appreciate this change; a group of “very irked Yahoo employees” leaked the note to The Wall Street Journal on Friday, turning the whole thing into something of a PR headache. As Edelman PR notes in this tweet, lots of people are talking about “working from home” right now–to Yahoo’s detriment.

The reasoning behind the decision makes sense: The company found that many of its telecommuters, in departments from marketing to engineering, weren’t actually getting much work done. Yahoo didn’t even seem to realize that some of them were still getting paid.

We get it–that’s bad news. But we wonder whether “no working from home, ever” is really the best solution.

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A Better Way to Do Internal PR

They say communication is the key to every relationship, including the one between employers and employees. If you’ve got a staff, learn 5 ways to strengthen your internal PR strategy, and just watch as your workers become happier, and also more efficient.

Tip No. 2: Build your toolbox

“When we’re not at work, we’re very active on social platforms and interacting across a variety of devices, but then when we get to work, it’s like we’re stuck in time with one-way emails [or] inability to access the intranet from a mobile device,” explained Christopher Hannegan, EVP of employee engagement for Edelman.

So, before you fire off that memo about the company’s plunging stock price, consider how your internal public digests news — is it via the Web, print publications, text messaging? Solutions exist for each, whether building an intranet, developing a PDF newsletter, or allowing employees to sign up for company news text alerts.

Andrea Hackett

Read more in the latest Mediabistro AvantGuild article, 5 Ways to Improve Your Company’s Internal PR. [subscription required]

The Social Facets of Workplace Communications

“Social media is evolving so rapidly, but the enterprise space has a lot to do to catch up.” observed Kelli Carlson-Jagersma, VP at Wells Fargo Bank. David Grossman, founder and CEO of The Grossman Group, an internal comms consultancy, agreed that social platforms complicate an already tricky environment for workplace communications. Both spoke at Business Development Institute’s Social Media and Internal Communications Summit on Thursday in New York. Below are key takeaways.

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Edelman Shifts Practice Focus to ‘Employee Engagement’

Edelman has used the findings from its own 2012 Trust Barometer to shift its internal relations practice to an employee engagement focus.

The Trust Barometer found that 50 percent believe employees are reliable sources of information about their companies. With that in mind, the employee engagement practice will zero in on ways to connect employees with the company, each other, and the public.

Strategies and services will focus on ways to use social media and intranets for comms purposes, content development, research and measurement via StrategyOne, and more. The practice will be led by Christopher Hannegan, EVP in Chicago, and Nick Howard, a director in London. Both execs are being promoted to practice chairs in the U.S. and EMEA respectively. Hannegan goes into further detail in the video above. Note: We like the lamp.

DKC Internal Memo Demands Better Media Hits… Or Else

An anonymous tipster sent us an internal memo today written by DKC PR president Sean Cassidy for his staffers. In it, he takes issue with the types of media hits the firm is generating for its clients, scolds the staff for not taking advantage of office hours with firm execs, and warns that he will take drastic action if folks don’t shape up.

“Remember, I see what everyone produces.  So…. if performance in these areas does not improve, I will make specific recommendations to the management team regarding changes to the staff,” the memo reads. (We have it in full after the jump.)

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Cassidy ends the memo on a high note.

“Have a nice weekend.”

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Papa John’s Fires Employee for Slur, Needs to Do More

A teenage cashier lost her job at Papa John’s over the weekend for using a racial slur to identify a customer who’d come into one of the chain’s Harlem restaurants. The customer, Minhee Cho, comms director at ProPublica, posted a photo of the receipt on Twitter with the message, “Hey @PapaJohns just FYI my name isn’t ‘lady chinky eyes.’”

Papa John’s took immediate action, going to its social media pages to apologize and express concern. But the assistant manager of the franchise restaurant, only identified on Gothamist as Jerome, speaks to what sounds like a larger problem.

“You know, we do stuff like that sometimes. We’ll write ‘the lady with the blue eyes’ or ‘the guy in the green shirt,’” he says, equating an offensive racial remark to a description of someone’s clothing. He adds that the attention being brought to the incident is disrupting business and that the dismissed employee probably doesn’t fully understand why she’s been fired.

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