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Internal communications

F-H Adds to IR Offering in Asia

Fleishman-Hillard has beefed up its investor relations and research offerings in Asia with a new team that builds on their financial comms and financial service public affairs practices.

Ruby Yim will lead this expanded Global Capital Markets Services group based in Hong Kong and serve as the global co-chair of the team. She was previously managing partner at Taylor Rafferty and served as GM at Thomson Financial Investor Relations in  the Asia-Pacific region. She will have three other experienced practitioners working with her. The group will have four teams to deal with client issues, working with regional F-H teams.

F-H launched a China practice in September.

Best Buy Worker Joins Black Friday Backlash

Now you can add Best Buy to the list of retailers facing backlash from employees who have been told to cut short their turkey time so they can help bargain-hunters shop for discount goodies in the wee hours of Black Friday/Thanksgiving night.

The Minneapolis StarTribune reports that Rick Melaragni, a Best Buy worker in Florida, has started a petition on Change.org seeking to change the Black Friday opening time to 5a.m.

“A full holiday with family is not just for the elite of this nation — all Americans should be able to break bread with loved ones and get a good night’s rest on Thanksgiving!” Melaragni writes. Hard to argue with that. Nearly 8,300 people have already signed the petition.

Anthony Hardwick, a part-time worker for Target, has also launched a petition that has gotten almost 156,000 signatures. He says he’s meant to start work at 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving night but would also like to see the opening time pushed to 5 a.m.

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MSLGroup and PRSA To Host a Conference

MSL Atlanta and the Public Relations Society of America‘s Employee Communications Section are launching Connect ’11, an event focused on engagement with “unwired” employees like those in manufacturing and retail.

“These remote and non-wired employees are frequently the heartbeat and frontline representatives of an organization. So in an age when information moves at the speed of light and customers may find out company information before the company’s own employees, how can internal communications leaders keep these non-wired stakeholders informed and up-to-date?” said Jason Anthoine, SVP and the office’s brand and talent practice head. Good question.

JetBlue’s Jenny Dervin, Mike Mills from Nationwide Insurance, and Renee Kopkowski from Mars Chocolate North America are among the slated speakers. The event takes place November 8. More info here.

At Beckerman, It’s Best If You Drink Water

Keith Zakheim, president of Beckerman, will fire your ass if you drink up all the milk and don’t make proper arrangements to get a new container put in the fridge before he arrives in the office the following morning. Seriously, he got to the office yesterday and there wasn’t enough milk for his coffee and he was pissed off! His staff has been warned before, so he doesn’t understand why folks can’t just replace the gosh darn milk!

How do I know all this? Zakheim sent an email to his staff telling them his tale of woe. And that email ended up in the Gawker inbox, probably sent by the person Zakheim describes as, “either incredibly lazy, obnoxiously selfish or woefully devoid of intelligence – 3 traits that are consistent with the profile of FORMER Beckerman employees.”

He’s beseeching that person, “PLEASE don’t test me” or you will be fired. Like fired like Kristin Wiig was in Bridesmaids (click to the 10-minute mark). Once that person is fired, if you would like to pursue a career at Beckerman, click here for info.

Update: This story is getting picked up by media around the world.

Employee Comms Tip #1: Show Some Respect

Bloomberg says AOL is in discussions with Yahoo to talk about a deal of some sort (that would be an… interesting combination). But we’re still stuck on the way the situation with Carol Bartz played out this week. First they delivered the bad news over the phone. Then she struck back at Yahoo using the “D” word (“doofus”).

“In my opinion, I would never find it appropriate to fire someone over the phone, especially if it was a total surprise,” said Ed Flowers, EVP and MD of DHR International. DHR is an executive search firm that specializes in C-level recruits. And Flowers has over 25 years of HR experience, working with some of the largest companies in the world.

Flowers wasn’t privy to any information about the Yahoo situation other than what was in the news. And, “certainly, the results at Yahoo weren’t good so she probably knew she was in jeopardy to some degree.” But otherwise, a face-to-face meeting of some kind is always the way to go when dealing with these sorts of sensitive employee relations situations.

“Every employee, whether they’re at the lowest level of an operation or the very highest level should be treated with dignity and respect,” Flowers told us.

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How Not To Fire A CEO

Yahoo unceremoniously dismissed its embattled CEO Carol Bartz yesterday by phone. Anyone who has followed Yahoo (or simply read the business pages) since Bartz took the position in January 2009 knows that it has been a bumpy ride. But firing anyone, let alone the CEO, on a phone call is harsh.

After being fired, Bartz sent this memo: “I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.”

Investors responded positively to the news, as did a few people on Twitter. But firing someone, like breaking up, should be done in person.

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Employees Revolt Against Wal-Mart, Target

Photo: AP

Today, the Supreme Court tossed out a class action gender discrimination lawsuit filed against Wal-Mart Stores.

“The court did not decide whether Wal-Mart had in fact discriminated against the women, only that they could not proceed as a class,” The New York Times writes. The decision puts an end to what the story calls “the largest employment discrimination case in the nation’s history.”

While the Supreme Court decided it couldn’t proceed, there are still repercussions in the court of public opinion.

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MetLife Study Finds Employees Are Stressed and Unhappy

A scene from 'Office Space.'

MetLife’s Ninth Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends finds that employee loyalty, like employee morale, has reached a low point. Forty-seven percent of employees surveyed say they feel very strong loyalty to their employers, down from 59 percent three years ago. But about half of employers think that employees feel strong loyalties, the same as 2008.

And while many employers saw productivity gains over the past year, 36 percent of employees hope to be working elsewhere in the next year.

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Google Mines for Management Excellence

The Google logo from March 6, Ghana's independence day.

From the sublime to the bizarre and from the bizarre to the ridiculous Google mines it. So it’s all the more interesting when an HR resource called “Project Oxygen” came online for Google early in 2009. It wasn’t created to find the next app or some sort of algorithm stream. It was meant to find something immensely more important to Google.

Project Oxygen started out as a fact-find mission to prove the age-old HR statement that people leave organizations because of their managers. They would also look at collateral damage it was having on the company as a whole. But Google’s big-dig ended up being a strike-oil scenario for management excellence.

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