... because as a freelancer I don't get the chance to mentor as many people as I'd like. In the hope it's useful, I'm offering some of the lessons I learned.
I’ll start with two things I wish I’d done differently: I should have heeded red flags before accepting jobs at a couple of places; and I should have spent more time absorbing a company’s culture and history before suggesting that it change.
What would you ask before joining a company as an employee communications professional? I think CEOs deserve scrutiny: Every company is unique, and CEOs have an enormous influence on culture. What is the CEO’s style? Is there turnover in the C-Suite? Does the board trust the CEO? Do you? What do you think of the CEO’s commitment to employees; diversity, equity and inclusion; and quality management/process improvement? What does the CEO think of your role?
Where does your employee communications department report? (Organizational Development within Human Resources was ideal in the aughts, rather than Advertising or Marketing, where it sometimes languished as an extra assignment shoved onto copywriters.) What’s your budget, and what are the current employee communications vehicles? Will you have a coordinating part to play in Vision/Mission/Goals and brand wording? Public relations? Speechwriting for executives?
Employee communications is a fun and fascinating career, and in my next post I’d like to share and learn about ways to assess a company’s culture and communications. I’d like to add one more item today: the employee communications department’s raison d’ȇtre. I once joined a company and was proudly shown my predecessor’s mission statement: “We will engage employees’ hearts, heads, and hands.” (True story.) I discarded it. That company’s employees there weren’t all that happy, and talking about their hearts and heads wasn’t helping. Besides, I was taught in the 1990s that employee communications exists because good leaders know it improves productivity and the company’s bottom line.
Past travels with a trusty camera; current work on James E. Brewton Foundation research and memoir
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