"Back then, the only way we could make a business case for intranets was to stop doing print publications," she said. The long-term savings on printing and paper costs justified the big initial expense of establishing intranet portals. After the one-time technology investment, which could be booked as a capital cost, all you'd ever have to do was post new information at no additional expense. What a great solution! And so modern!
It was, of course, a Faustian pact, which ended up leading to the miserable state of affairs we have today, with a disenfranchised workforce, decaying employee engagement, and intranets that might as well have tumbleweeds blowing through them.
Fast forward to today. With recessionary forces at play, it looks like we're in for a major down cycle, which means cost-cutting will once again be in fashion. But with no print publications to chop, how will employee communications be affected? At times like this, big organizations throttle back. Which means that daring advances in employee communication will be put on hold, right?
I'm thinking, this time, maybe not. Towers Perrin survey results released today reveal that employers may pay a little more attention to the care and feeding of employees during the current downturn than they did in the past.
This time, the more enlightened employers are going to see the current situation as an opportunity to hold on to their best people and strengthen their internal cultures -- to apply some extra glue to keep themselves together during this difficult period so they will be stronger when the come through the other side.
Employee communications can be that glue, that connective tissue. Smart leaders will understand that, and smart communicators will be able to sell what needs to be done in those terms instead of finding new ways to apply the hatchet.