Multilingual Business Communication

June 9, 2009

Company reputation and social media

Filed under: Ankie Dees, crisis communication — Tags: , — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 9:08 pm

According to Deloitte’s 2009 Ethics & Workplace Survey, 74% of workers believe it is easy to damage a brand’s reputation via social networking sites. This result emphasizes an important part of issue and crisis management: corporate culture and employee satisfaction. As social media are getting more and more mainstream, the influence of employees on public opinion is increasing.

“With the explosive growth of online social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, rapidly blurring the lines between professional and private lives, these virtual communities have increased the potential of reputational risk for many organizations and their brands,” said Sharon Allen, chairman of the board of Deloitte LLP. “While the decision to post videos, pictures, thoughts, experiences and observations is personal, a single act can create far reaching ethical consequences for individuals as well as employers. Therefore, it is important for executives to be mindful of the implications of this connected world and to elevate the discussion about the risks associated with it to the highest levels of leadership.”

Only17 percent of executives surveyed say they have programs in place to monitor and neutralize the possible reputational risks that may appear through social networks. Additionally, while less than a quarter have formal policies on the medium’s use among their people, 49 % of employees indicate that corporate guidelines will not change their behaviour online.

“One-third of employees surveyed never consider what their boss or customers might think before posting material online,” Allen continued. “This fact alone reinforces how vulnerable brands are as a result of the increased use of social networks. As business leaders, it is critical that we continue to foster solid values-based cultures that encourage employees to behave ethically regardless of the venue.”

These values-based corporate cultures should incorporate more employee feedback and participation. When people are able to talk about work-related issues on the work floor itself, they won’t feel the need to turn to third parties. Then,  if a crisis does hit the fan, your employees will be your best allies.

Source: http://www.csrwire.com/press/press_release/26972-Deloitte-s-2009-Ethics-Workplace-Survey-Examines-the-Reputation-Risk-Implications-of-Social-Networks

Internal blogs: a tool for project communication

Filed under: Ankie Dees, employee communication — Tags: , — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 7:50 pm

 

Is your company’s Knowledge Management system failing? Is it getting nearly impossible to effectively manage crucial documents with your current e-mail applications?  Does key information get buried in a colleague’s inbox, because someone failed to put you in cc?  Then an internal project blog on your corporate intranet might be just the tool you need.

Internal blogging has many advantages over a traditional e-mail system. Of course the blog has to be made accessible to specified individuals and restricted from public view. All the information, ideas and expertise on one or several projects can be centered on the blog. After a project is completed, this blog remains a searchable and structured record.

Sometimes key information completely disappears, for example when someone leaves the company. Usually the old e-mail account becomes dissolved and all the valuable information that used to live there, goes into data purgatory. “It’s forever lost,” says Anil Dash, chief evangelist for Six Apart. “If it’s in a blog, it doesn’t disappear when that person leaves.” With blogs, documents and other information about respective projects remains on the intranet, and critical information is accessible to all who want to see it and who have permission to see it.

With an internal blog as a central point where information flows are captured, everyone who participates and reads it gets up-to-date quickly. This will make your internal meetings more effective. When new people start working on a project, they can review the internal blog’s content and will be able to jump straight in with a clear understanding of how the project evolved.

Source: http://www.cio.com/article/120301/Seven_Reasons_for_Your_Company_to_Start_an_Internal_Blog

April 11, 2009

You are in good hands

Filed under: crisis communication, Maud Bonte — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 7:04 pm

Two weeks ago, a serious mistake was made in the Brugmann hospital in Brussels. A corrossive substance – instead of distilled water – was used to clean an endoscope, causing severe internal burns to 4 patients during a routine intestinal check-up.

The hospital immediately admitted a blunder was made. They contacted the possibly affected patients,  offered them the appropriate medical, psychological, legal, administrative assistance, and promised a compensation. A fine example of good crisis communication!

But at the same time the hospital brought action against an unknown person and tried to minimalise the damage. Two weeks have passed and nothing has been communicated concerning the results of the investigation. The patients complained about the bad communication of the hospital towards them.

The website of the Brugmann Hospital says nothing about the incident. It does say they are cooperating in a national campaign about hospital hygiene ‘You are in good hands’. I’m not so sure if the 4 victims would agree on this…

Maud Bonte

Sources: Zware fout bij darmonderzoek, Knack, 31 March 2009
Routineonderzoek in ziekenhuis heeft dramatisch gevolgen, De Standaard, 1 April 2009

April 10, 2009

Blogging in crisis communication

Filed under: crisis communication, Ruth Broekaert — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 6:26 pm

http://rodjohns.typepad.com/.a/6a00e54edf3719883401156e4fb4b9970c-800wi

With the introduction of blogs and other social media companies have to face new challenges if they are to deal with a crisis situation effectively and efficiently.In crisis communication the goals are to maintain a positive image of the company, to present timely information, and to remain accessible. Blogs give the ability to offer updates instantly and to remain accessible. Moreover, you can use a human tone of voice to accommodate the public’s emotional response.

But how do you deal with a blogging community of millions during a crisis? Rumours can spread like wildfire from blogger to blogger, country to country. There are some things you can take into account, because after all, you do want to survive the crisis.

First of all, you should have a crisis communication plan in place. It’s very important for companies to have blogging policies, and certainly, don’t replace your crisis communications plan with blogs. It’s got to be part of the mix.

Secondly, publish facts and only facts. The more information you give, the more you can contain the issue. Don’t let speculation and assumption run wild. Bloggers appreciate openness and giving them all the information is the key.

Thridly, bloggers look for the truth. Answer any questions they might have, post comments on blogs addressing the issue, ask for their opinions and get their insight. Work with them, not against them.

And last but not least, take nothing for granted. Continuously monitor your blog, not only prominent bloggers. When rumours or allegations are completely false this doesn’t mean you can ignore it.

Ruth Broekaert


http://www.prblogger.com/2006/02/blog-crisis-communications/

http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/heath-row/blogs-new-role-crisis-communications

Are we the ones in charge now?

Filed under: business communication, employee communication — Tags: , , , — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 5:26 pm

When looking at employee communication, we often consider it as one way traffic from the employer towards the employee. However, I asked myself lately wether this could have been slightly reversed. In the last decade, employees became more and more demanding. They do not settle for just any job available anymore. According to a Weekend Knack questionnaire held amongst 20 year olds, we do not just want to find a job and earn large amounts of money. We mainly want to live the good life. We still work overtime, but instead of being paid for it, we want more holidays in return. This does not mean that we are a lazy generation, we just consider quality time of more importance than materialism.

We do not want money. We want a nice atmosphere, a good company image and flexible working hours.
We do not want certainty. We rather enjoy what we do, also if it is for a short time.
Last but not least, we have faith in ourselves and believe that everything will work out just fine.

I guess this makes us a very demanding generation and I believe employers will become the ones to be flexible, instead of the employees.

Source: Weekend Knack nr.15, April 8th until April 14th, 2009 pg.25-30

An illusionary street campaign

Filed under: Frauke De Graeve, marketing communication, Uncategorized — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 3:25 pm

absolut-vodka-stockholm-krijt

This nice piece of street art was to be seen in Stockholm. It was designed by the American artist Kurt Wenner  on commission of Absolut Vodka.

This spectacular and beautiful example of a illusionary street campaign is a 3D chalk drawing on the pavement in a park. The print was part of the brand’s prestigious art ad series. The creation of Wenner’s art was also filmed by Absolut Vodka for a television commercial.

 

In the beginning, street art, which is any art developed in public places, was used to show activism and to create a powerful platform for reaching a large public.

Graffiti is the most popular and most known form of street art. Street art is popular, alive and kicking. There is even a website that is like a database, on which all street art in the world is indicated.

 

As street marketers must always be up-to-date and innovative, they use the latest and talked-about ways to surprise the people. They picked up on this trend and made artists design wonderful art ads.

 

Other examples designed by Kurt Wenner are the campaign for Microsoft’s X-game Gear of War and the Honda Formula 1 for Lucky Strike Racing.

street-art-xbox

lucky-strike-stoepkrijt

Frauke De Graeve

Talking with (not to) your employees about diversity

Filed under: employee communication, internship, Ruth Broekaert, Uncategorized — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 3:11 pm

A couple of years ago only a few had heard of the term ‘diversity’. More and more managers have come to realize the importance and the benefits of a diverse workforce. Today diversity has truly become a hot topic for internal communication.

But internal communication is often not more than a one way stream of information. A lot of companies are telling their employees not to discriminate, to tolerate differences and so on. This of course is a good thing. But more effective internal communication leaves room for dialogue, and allows top-down and bottom-up communication to complement each other.

The city of Ghent recognizes that internal communication is in fact a two way street. To put this belief into practice the city’s program for diversity and equal opportunities has made a brochure that gives word to the employees. During workshops employees exchanged their experiences with diversity at the workplace. These stories were bundled into a brochure that has been distributed to all city departments. The success of the internal diversity campaign was acknowledged by Federal Minister of Work and Equal Opportunities Joëlle Milquet 1as she rewarded Ghent with the Label Diversity Equality.

https://i2.wp.com/www.werk.belgie.be/uploadedImages/Newsletter/Test/label%20def.JPGhttps://i0.wp.com/www.rollerman.be/images/Stad%20Gent%20kleur.jpgdiversiteit2702072

1 http://www.belg.be/leesmeer.php?x=6498

Ruth Broekaert


It doesn’t hurt to try

Filed under: employee communication, Frauke De Graeve — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 2:55 pm

 

In times of crises, employers find it difficult to motivate their personnel. On the website of CIPD, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 10 hints to manage the workforce in a recession are listed.

The three most important hints are these:

  • Think long term.
    Be creative in reducing costs. Furthermore, keep in mind that it is expensive to lay people off and recruit new ones when the market picks up again.
  • Maintain employee engagement.
    It is important to set objectives in a clear direction. Also, make sure you keep your employees in the picture, even though there is only a little news. You can organise team-building days or give out employee awards.
  • Support the employees’ health and well-being.
    Recession times can have an impact on the psychological condition of the employees. Flexible working hours make it more comfortable to combine work and home lives. Besides, provide workplace support and health provision to prevent high levels of stress.

 

It is rather doubtful whether this list of – barely renewed – hints can help an employer to motivate his personnel. At least, it doesn’t hurt to try to give some hints.

 

Frauke De Graeve

 

Source: http://www.cipd.co.uk/subjects/emplaw/redundancy/_hwmngwrfrcs.htm?IsSrchRes=1

 

 

 

Homophobia in sports? Not in Ghent

Filed under: internship, marketing communication, Ruth Broekaert — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 12:52 pm

City marketing is now booming. More and more cities are explicitly positioning themselves amongst their competitors by emphasizing their points of difference. An essential part of city marketing is to clearly state the city’s core values. Even before the city marketing boom, Ghent has always been known for its leading role among others Flemish cities in promoting equal opportunities and diversity. Now, they want to do even more and take it a step further.

That is why the city of Ghent has teamed up with the Holebi Federation to organize the very first Belgian ‘Holebi sportdag’, a sports day for bi-, homo- and heterosexuals. A lot of prominent people from in and around Ghent will be present to sign a charter against homophobia in sports. Why you ask? Of course because doing sports is fun for all! But this is also Ghent’s way of sharing its core values. This sports day is an ideal way to show everyone that there is no need for discrimination or homophobia in the macho world of sports, or anywhere else for that matter.

So sign up for one or more sports activities, from beach mix to highland games, or just come and cheer for the soccer match between the Pink Devils (a gay soccer team) and the soccer team of the Ghent police department. Queer or straight, don’t be square and be there at the Blaarmeersen on the 9th of march!

https://i2.wp.com/www.gent.be/pics/gelijke_kansen/div-color.jpghttps://i0.wp.com/www.rollerman.be/images/Stad%20Gent%20kleur.jpg

Ruth Broekaert

Print Media: The struggle for survival

Filed under: business communication, crisis communication, Vanessa Vanleene — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 11:31 am

The global financial crisis has made several new victims by pushing print media to the verge of extinction. These last couple of months, the already volatile sector of newspapers wearily noticed the erosion of circulation and advertising. The threat of heavy debt has forced several newspapers to file for bankruptcy or, in a final attempt to save themselves, to take extreme measures in cutting costs.

 

In December 2008, the Belgian publisher of several large Flemish newspapers, Corelio announced 60 layoffs. Luckily, by March 2009, the dismissals at De Morgen were limited to 15 instead of 26 employees. Corelio was also heavily criticised by the National Committee of Professional Photographers when the publisher stated they would no longer require the photographers’ services. To escape bankruptcy, Corelio’s journalists were now required to come up with their own photos for publication. The publisher is clearly giving it all in order to overcome the hardships of the economic crisis.

 

The question remains however whether there will be a future for print media at all. There are those who believe that the business model of newspapers is simply not up to par, especially when compared to the possibilities of the world wide web. Indeed, we are a generation who reads the news online, continuously updated all throughout the day. Maybe, the financial crisis is only pointing out the obvious, when the weakest companies have to close shop.

 

 

Vanessa Vanleene

Sources:

“Gedrukt dagblad wordt een dinosaurus”, NRC Handelsblad, 12 December 2008, p. 15

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