Use the media to inform employees, expert advises

Informing staff about company changes through the media can be an effective way of getting news across, according to a communications expert.

Philip Dewhurst, director of corporate affairs at British Nuclear Fuels, said using the press to get corporate news across to staff meant you could get a message to a wide number of people very quickly.

“When there are issues – especially in crisis times – it is a good way to get the message across,” he said at the Chartered Management Institute’s annual lecture at the Royal Society of Arts.

Dewhurst warned that it was not a substitute for communicating with staff directly and could not be used when negotiating.

However, Ben Willmott, employee relations adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, warned that using the media could have a serious impact on employee morale.

“Research shows that where employees are informed and consulted about matters concerning their employment they are more likely to have higher levels of job satisfaction,” he said.

Willmott also said that breaking company news in the media could breach information and consultation regulations.

Since 6 April, firms employing more than 150 employees to discuss a wide range of issues with staff (including the business’ economic situation, structure and future plans for employment), if 10% or more of the workforce request it.

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