Employee Engagement

What We Think

Illustration: What We Think

Internal communications (IC) is not merely about informing employees about corporate developments, policies, and HR matters. Done purposely, it is about facilitating workplace trust, innovation/ideation, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing — all of which drive engagement and, as research has proven, positively impact a company’s financial health.

From this perspective, a business-centric, IC strategy is clearly an operational imperative, not an HR “nice to have.” Delivering definitive and sustainable value requires the function to have a strong business focus, integrating more deeply into business processes, and aligning efforts, priorities, and performance measurement yardsticks around facilitating essential business outcomes.

Employee engagement hinges on trust and confidence; candor and transparency in internal communications are critical. That means straight-talk about the good and the bad. It means owning and dissecting missteps, without any “spin”, as much as it is about championing successes, and providing employees with the means to collaborate and comment on internal issues that matter most to them.

What We Do

Illustration: What We Do

STARKMAN has worked with a broad array of public and private companies to design and execute internal communications strategies, campaigns, and initiatives that deliver meaningful results to the bottom line and enhance the employee experience. Equally important, we have provided counsel and tactical execution services to help organizations facing reputational risk to mitigate the short- and long-term internal disruptions that threaten business crises.

Among our relevant areas of specialized expertise:

  • Business transformations: M&A, reorganizations, restructurings, consolidations, spinoffs, market entry/departures, change management communications, post-merger culture integration
  • Leadership changes: Successions, role changes/shifts, new executive-level position introductions, hostile dismissals
  • Internal crises: Layoffs/downsizing/RIFs, workplace-centric litigation, ethical misconduct allegations, employee improprieties
  • Workplace and Culture initiatives: Values and ethics campaigns, safety initiatives, performance/productivity improvement work
  • Business outcomes support: social networking content strategy, learning & development communications, external message alignment
  • Executive communications: messaging strategy, editorial support, speechwriting / scripting for employee meetings and forums, off-site events
  • HR function support: Benefits communications, collaterals (i.e., employee handbooks, values statements, and the like), recruitment communications, employee sentiment audits, recognition programs, wellness campaigns, open enrollment collateral development

How We Do It

Illustration: How We Do It

A tailored, impactful internal communications strategy is one built on a foundation of keen insight into the complexities of an organization’s business operations, workplace culture, employee optics/perceptions, and leadership dynamics. Accordingly, whether providing strategic counsel in response to a client’s crisis that threatens employee engagement and trust, or partnering with a company to strengthen efforts to cultivate sustainable employee engagement over a longer time horizon, our approach to internal communications begins with a rigorous due diligence process.

Once we have an understanding of the organization’s growth strategy and how well its culture, HR strategies, workplace initiatives, and internal communications processes currently align to support and drive it, we then partner with the client’s internal communications leadership to assess strategic and tactical priorities, technology resources, compliance considerations, budget parameters, and, in some ways most importantly, the level of credible senior executive “buy in” to support and participate in the IC effort. It is only after these issues are vetted that a tailored action plan that fosters, supports, and ultimately drives goal-directed employee behaviors that align with business strategy and core brand messages can be mapped.

Who We Do It For

Illustration: Who We Do It For

We’d welcome the opportunity to discuss the breadth of our expertise and diversity of internal communications client work. Among the recent highlights:

  • Counseled a Fortune 50 company on internal communications surrounding the announcement of an unprecedented industry-shifting global partnership
  • Led a global professional services firm’s efforts to develop and produce region- and country-specific internal materials, including a communications manual for business unit leaders, to announce and implement a 15% workforce reduction
  • Partnered with a leading business transformation consultancy for a shared $450+ million client to strategize and execute internal communications work to support a global change management initiative
  • Collaborated with a management consultancy on a best practices benchmarking audit for the internal communications organization of a Fortune 15 company
  • Provided strategic counsel and editorial support to the founder of a market-dominating e-payment platform on the internal announcement of his decision to sell his boutique-sized company to a well-known Fortune 300 public company of exponentially larger size
  • Engineered post-merger onboarding strategy to acclimatize newly acquired employees of a privately held, fast-growth company to new workplace culture, provided editorial support and tactical execution to facilitate their transition