Public Relations Tactics

Off the Rack: Making Messages Resonate With Staff

April 3, 2017

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The April 1961 edition of PRSA’s PR Journal explored an age-old issue: having corporate messages resonate with employees. Consultant Moris T. Hoversten addressed the situation. “One of the most basic problems of communicating to employees is achieving believability — getting them to take the employer’s messages seriously,” he wrote. “No matter how straightforward, sincere and well-meaning an employer’s message may be… it, unfortunately, is just a little suspect.”

So what’s the solution?

Information racks — stocked with specially prepared booklets about various employee programs — according to Hoversten, who noted that General Motors was a pioneer of them.

“The rack does not by any means provide the answer to all communication problems, but it does offer some interesting features not to be overlooked by anyone interested in employee communication,” he wrote.

Hoversten goes on to discuss the value of the voluntary nature that the racks provide. “No one tells the employee that he has to pick up the literature. No one says that he has to take it home and read it. But perhaps this is what makes it appealing and why it is picked up.”

There are some pitfalls with information racks, including “the possibility of reading on the job,” he said. It is key, experts said, to keep the racks neat and tidy. “A sloppy rack with a poor selection of booklets can be no more successful than a sloppily run cafeteria or plant publication.”

The piece concludes by saying, “It is difficult to estimate the future of this medium, but its possibilities are both interesting and challenging.”  

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