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3 employee communications lessons learned from the Starbucks fiasco

Starbucks Corp. is not finding it easy to put the cap back on the can of worms opened by the April incident in Philadelphia where a store manager called the police to remove two young black men who had asked to use the restroom without purchasing anything while waiting for a friend, and then refused to leave when asked to do so.

The company responded quickly and appropriately. The CEO flew to Philadelphia and personally apologized to the two men, and the company announced a day of racial bias training for all U.S. store employees. But coming up with a workable new policy while under the hot glare of the media has been challenging.

Executive Chairman Howard Schultz’s impromptu May 11 disclosure that people will now be allowed to use Starbucks’ cafes, including its…

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Strategic communication is essential to recruit, retain, engage talent

Co-authored by Karin Bonev

We expect to see or hear the headline at least once a week. It’s the headline that laments the loss of manufacturing jobs in the Midwest and links the region’s economic challenges to a loss of middle class opportunity.

These stories ring true in hundreds of communities and tell a story of the past.

But the conversation that focuses on the future of manufacturing and the Midwest economy examines issues such as job training, talent recruitment and innovation. It examines the value of apprenticeships, corporate-college partnerships, research and development and foreign investment. At its most basic, this is a conversation about the competition to attract and retain talented workers.

Many of the manufacturing executives from across the…

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5 reasons to consider an employee app

Employee apps are on the rise … and for good reason with all the current challenges facing internal communications – multiple channels and messages, employees who might not be in front of a computer, limited budgets, etc.

If you aren’t familiar with employee apps, they’re essentially platforms that enable organizations to communicate with employees via smartphones. Most apps can also be accessed on desktops and tablets.

Not sure if an app makes sense for your organization? Here are five reasons why you might want to consider taking a closer look:

  1. Better communication with ALL employees – Apps are a great platform to reach all of your employees at the same time. If you have employees on the plant floor, on the road and/or in front of customers, clients or…
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5 ways to get the most from CEO communications with employees

Anytime a CEO communicates with associates, it’s an opportunity to build trust, increase engagement and positively influence the bottom line. And studies show that associates do want to hear from their CEO regularly. Whether your CEO has been talking with associates for years or is thinking about how he or she can start the conversation, below are five best practices that can make the most of your CEO’s outreach.

1. Reinforce business strategy and objectives
Most employees are focused on their day-to-day tasks – as they should be. A message from the CEO is an opportunity to share the 30,000-foot view of the organization and reconnect them to its strategy, business objectives and values. One of the best ways to do that is through examples and stories. Talk about a…

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Super Bowl ad and gender pay equity: does Audi walk the walk on gender diversity?

There’s no question that Audi’s Super Bowl ad featuring a gender pay equity message was bold.

If you haven’t seen it, the ad features a father pondering how to explain to his (race car driving) daughter that women are worth less in the workplace than men.

Taking on such a politically charged issue in such a politically charged time was an interesting choice for the luxury car company, and it’s certainly generated plenty of attention. But whether you praise the ad’s message or consider it a fail, perhaps the big question is: does Audi walk the walk?

It’s hard to rate the company’s performance on pay equity since it doesn’t disclose its pay structure (most companies do not). But it’s commitment and progress in the area of diversity and inclusion (D&I) are a telling…

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